Bangalore days and some more..

Deepavali back then meant my paternal grandma’s formula ‘legiyam’ or ‘lehyam’, my mom’s Mysore pak , rangolies, crackers, and tailored dress for the sis and I from the same cloth or at least of the same design but with different colors on them! The biggest work item assigned to us on this day would be to distribute sweets to all our neighbors in our colony, and that we did happily .

A few of my friends from our colony and I would collect empty ‘Waterbury’s Compound Red Label’ bottles and stash them away in a secret place to be used during Diwali. The open playground outside our row of houses used to be heaven. I was notorious back then too and have had very close misses with the abuse of crackers. My favorite prank was to snuff the narrow mouth of the Waterbury’s bottle’s with the rockets and pull just the wick out. The cracker would snugly fit in the mouth like a cork. The bottle would explode to pieces when the cracker burst.  I must’ve been pretty lucky because there were no accidents except once when a piece flew straight at me and tore my forearm slightly the last Diwali we were in Bangalore. Of course my parents were not aware that it was me and were busy heaping curses on some random rowdy kids resorting to such deadly pranks. I’d go mute too and so would all the partners in crime! Life since Bangalore days seems fast-forwarded!

Diwali makes me all nostalgic. Somehow, no Diwali after Bangalore ones have been the same. I guess growing up makes you all boring and serious at times J Crackers are not interesting anymore. New clothes are fine, but yeah, it is available more easily as opposed to the days when birthdays used to be the only other occasion that commanded the same respect. Sweets and savories are consumed with a touch of guilt too. Again, these are not restricted any more to occasions like Diwali or wedding. There are more special occasions now than the normal days, so much so that normal days start feeling special and you feel the need to celebrate!

But then, growing up also hurls you into another phase where you realize you are fortunate to be where you are, to be surrounded by your loved ones, to know that the other dear ones are just a call or email away and they’d be thinking and talking about you just the way you do about them, that you are free to be who you are than to be what the others expect of you, that you can fight tooth and nail to defend your thoughts and actions and not be judged for it, that you are blessed with a sense to accept your loved ones with all the dents, fractures, plasters, and their beautiful hearts just like how you are accepted..

Growing up also makes us (ok, at least me!) sentimental! Happy Diwali to you, all the wonderful people I’ve known. May this Diwali and every other Diwali light up your lives with good health, positive thoughts, and abundant joy. Always.


Diwali is not over yet!

One of Varun’s fav breakfast combo is poooyee – chaach (poori and tomato sauce). After he is done with the pooris, you’ll find him licking away the last bit of sauce on his fingers.

The scene however was a little different this morning. He got hold of a long straw from a broom and diligently dipped one end of it in the left over tomato sauce, faked lighting a cracker with the right arm stretched forward and the left behind, his knees bent at that angle. He apparently set fire on that apocryphal cracker and backed away. And there, the crackers went damaal, dimeel, damaal. Virtually. Several times.

Diwali 2010…

The day started for the little Vs at 4.30 AM and Varun must have been a confused boy for the best part of the day not understanding why the streets rocked damaal-dimeel thus!

NalanguThe new clothes were laid out on trays and kolams were done the previous night. The 4 Vs, the BIL and his better half assembled in a row as is the custom here. The paatti smeared our feet with turmeric paste and topped it with the usual ‘nalangu’ pattern using kumkum, followed by oiling our hair with a sound pat on the head:) The thatha systematically rolled a beetle leaf with the nut which each of us had to chew. Varun was bathed first and Vyas followed and then the mommy.

Vyas this DiwaliThe brothers

This Diwali was specially special because Vyas, though stuck inside the house for the best part of the day, actually came out to the terrace to see the beautiful aerial works and let us light some flower-pots and sparklers! Its a big milestone reached for the 2 of us personally!! And he said he loved them though from a distance!! And he surprised us the next evening by expressing his desire to hold a color-sparkler himself and he lit a few!! The entire credit goes to his 13 yr old friend Varsha who lives in the apartment below ours!! She literally reserved some aerials and sparklers to showcase it to the 2 Vs. Vyas didn’t take quite well to the aerials because it actually explodes and so he retreated and joined once the exploding stuff were done with!

In a little while, he called it time and counseled Varsha saying she had contributed enough to the pollution and that it was time to get indoors!!

Any jokes or comments aimed at his fear of crackers was well received by him. He acknowledged the fact and shrugged off saying, “Yes, am scared and I don’t like it. I am like that! You go ahead and do if you are not scared”. And he is right.

Lakshmi PoojaVarun this Diwali

I wonder what was going through Varun’s mind. He kept saying- pattaachu dammaal, but also topped it up with a loud -Yaay- cheer and claps every time a 100-wala or 1000-wala went up somewhere. He was too willing to come out and watch the fireworks. On an impulse, I carried the little fellow and together we set off a Lakshmi-vedi and a flower pot and he appeared thrilled! He lit quite a few sparklers and wanted more!

He was an enthusiastic participant in the Lakshmi pooja we perform early in the evening this day, hurling the akshadai and flowers in random directions and occasionally on Lakshmi or at her feet:)

The exposure to crackers smoke did its share and the little fellow has been coughing away the last few days and nights:( The anna does not let an opportunity pass and was quick to point out the ills the crackers bring and says that is exactly why he loathes them!

Kuppura vizhildhalum, meesaile mannu ottale!!

My Tenali and Diwali

Diwali announces its arrival with booms and bangs in almost every street corner at least one week before the actual day of the festival and the crackers continue to rock for several days after that. While most kids love to scan the crackers list and push their parents/grand-parents to extend the crackers budget, our man Vyas, is a kid in utter distress! You just have to mention ‘C’ in crackers and he is sure to close the door on you!

His hands are permanently glued to his ears and he is mostly found with his legs curled up on the couch. He calls a total bandh during Diwali and refuses to step out of the house to visit the temple, kolla patti, his cousins, or friends on this day. Crackers are my boy’s worst nightmare. Any amount of encouragement, reasoning, bullying has not helped in allaying his fears. ‘People must be mad to burst crackers!’ he declares!

As if to prove him right, last Diwali, my uncle made him stand at the door and lighted a bhoomi-chakram (ground- chakkar if you may call it), and to our dismay, it exploded! “See, I told you crackers are not safe. You people are out of your minds”, he yelled! He does not conceal his fear, but he will also attribute it to factors like pollution, child labor, and fire accidents!

I’ve recounted several of my tyrsts with crackers as a kid to substantiate that if we exercise caution, it is fun to light the crackers in the company of family and friends, but nay, he’d have none of it! Aashi, his 6.5 yr old younger sis, is bindaas and is totally cool about crackers:)

Vyas thinks my pranks of thrusting a rocket to snugly fit the mouth of a Waterbury’s Compound tonic bottle and then light it, is the most ‘stupidest’ act ever and wonders how my mom never figured out the bottles in my possession!

Its years since I’ve burst crackers myself and I’m absolutely fine and agree with him on not touching the stuff. But the fear is something I’d like him to overcome. Am sure he’ll come around, but the agony he goes through is something I can’t bear to see! His eyes are moist for the best part of the day:(

This Diwali, two of his friends from our apartments have taken it upon themselves to put Vyas’s fears to rest! Varun was barely 6 months old last Diwali and was ‘well protected’. This time, thanks to his anna, he has been saying , “pattachu dammaaal, dimmeel, bayam” everytime he hears an atom bomb explode two streets away!! Let me see how it goes with my boys this time!!

Will post updates the coming weekend!!!

Till then,in keeping with the ‘Enthiran- The Robot’ season:

Happy Diwali