Deepavali memories

October 18, 2017

Deepavali memoriesA misty, moisty morning here. Memories galore retracing me to my roots, my home. Missing my home sweet home in Coimbatore, missing my Deepavali. Thoughts flood from my cherished childhood, way past but never forgotten.

Indian October, November the months that bring the whiff of cool air and dense fog, a sought after relief after the scorching summer months. As a kid, arranging the villakus(lamps) prudently along the exterior walls of the house, the slanting rooftops, checking on it a gazillion times to make sure it shines through brightly, lest the darkness not take over.
Dreams halted mid way, excitedly waking up early to the sound of crackers bursting through the dawn. The aroma of sweets and savories filling the house. Growing up in Tamil Nadu, Deepavali(as it was called in the South) was indeed a grand celebration. Through the cloudy air and smell of burst crackers we greet neighbors who after their special Deepavali oil baths seemed to shine a little extra, all for the day. Happy Deepavali we shout from across, our voices burying amidst the pandemonium of all those crackers. Neighbors knock on doors and we exchange sweets. All decked in their fine pattu pavadas, gold jewels and veshtis. Dried fruits and nuts were a yearly once, fine package that we kids awaited with pleasure. Not to mention the bright, varicolored sweets neatly tucked in colorful little boxes. Mum’s coconut barfis were the ones i was really drawn to. The coconut and the Mallu in me. The way she used to diligently and patiently pack the murrukus and sweets in round, steel dabbas to distribute it to the neighbors. The constant reminder to bring back the dabba to fill for the next neighbor and the next and the next. I used to dutifully wait till the neighbor Aunties used to empty the dabbas and fill it with a sweet or two again. This walking back and forth went on the whole day all the while carefully avoiding to step on some half burst cracker that could burst anytime. I remember my sister was a hard to find creature during this day. I always used to end up catching her in some dark corner munching on the gulab jamuns. She just couldn’t resist those perfect round, deep fried, golden balls of deliciousness. That once a year binge party that she entitled herself to.
Night falls but the skies were kept illuminated with more crackers. The ones that i most remember were the flower pot crackers, snake crackers that spew out this dark, black ash shaped like a snake hissing out of its pit, chakra crackers, and the petite red, round ones you would incessantly hit with a stone. Ah the feeling when you finally see the spark, hear the sound and manage to save your finger. A long day with a myriad of memories stacking up and lights filling up our homes and hearts.
Who knew one day far across i would recall these fondly to my kids. And as i recall, i realize more and more that Deepavali meant much more than just a yearly festivity, it was a celebration of gatherings, of joy, of laughter, it had that strong essence of togetherness.
Now before i get all misty eyed, i am going to take this misty, moisty morning as a symbol of burst crackers in the early morning air, a way to trace back home. One small way to keep the spirit of my Deepavali memories alive perhaps?



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