The festival of lights and stars is here again. Lights, sweet and celebration! Lamps painted with colours and decorated with glasses!
But the name deepavali painting brings back another memory. That of my Amma painting the bathroom before every deepavali with white and clay mud.Then filling the water in HANDE with fresh water and decorating with delicate rangolis and diyas. Not only the bathroom but the entire house was filled with beautiful intricate rangoli designs and light from the earthen diyas throwing wonderful rhapsody of light on the dark nights. What a wonderful way of celebrating and worshiping the elements!
Today there are rows and rows of sweets prepared with all possible dry fruits and decorative motifs filled in the house.But I can't help getting nostalgic about " ele shyavige paayasa " and " sandige" in the night followed by kheeru poori, Jamoon made from fresh dilliwala khova on the following days. Shall I let you into a little secret? Amma used to prepare hundreds of gulab jamoons from fresh khova of which some 20-25 were always set aside by her in a secret little carrier. They were all preserved for me " sannaaki " ( the little one ) to be savored after festival when all the sweets were exhausted. Yumm!!!
As for Naraka Chaturdasi ......
What ? Is it ? Asking me whether I know that Naraka chaturdasi is the celebration of the death of Demon Naraka, son of Bhudevi in the hands of his own mother who was incarnated as Sathyabhama and was killed at the behest of Lord Krishna ? Yeah sure, sure. I had read about that.
But the word Naraka Chaturdasi rings in the memory of the day when we started bursting crackers. It was the time to get up at dawn, perform aarathi, get our share of money put in the aarathi by dad, brother, uncles to be shared by us women folk. Though this was a bonus, there was a down side too ! The compulsion to forego the bursting of dangerous crackers to boys. Though never bothered about the equal share in property, during Deepavali we made anna to count each and every piece of crackers and distribute equally among we children.
Somewhere I have read that Deepavali is also celebrated as a festival culminating the return of pandavas from thier vanavasa and agnathavasa. But the only thing we had learnt from Pandavas was to play PAGADE! Albeit nobody could beat or come anywhere near shakuni in his skills (?), there used to be Dharmarayas and Duryodhanas in equal numbers.
Without the onslaught of TVs and computers, we used to have very lengthy days and yet they were not enough to satiate our desire to play more. Entire locality used to assemble in somebody or the other's house every day during the festival and the games never used to end. Haan kabhi kabhi Mahabharat hote hote bach jaate the!
The ultimate treat of Deepavali was the Naastha ( snacks) wherein we used to get invitations for diwali pharaala each day from friends and relatives for almost a fortnight. And a sumptuous treat of besan undi, chakkli, gilaganchi and chooda, daani used to follow... The taste still lingers.....
Do you want the recipes? sure here they are !!!