As a child, Diwali used to be my favourite festival which filled my heart with great excitement and euphoria making me wish that everyday should be Diwali. Growing up in Tamil Nadu, we celebrated Diwali as “Naraka Chaturdasi” – the day when Narakaasura was killed. To this day, my heart rejoices at the mere mention of Diwali making me feel extremely nostalgic.
1. New Dresses
The First and foremost excitement factor of Diwali is the new dress. Those days Diwali was the only time, when we would buy new dresses for the entire family. We used to elaborately plan our dress shopping by considering the latest fashion trend and the shops with the best collection of dresses atleast a month before the festival. The whole town would descend on the only market place in the evenings to check out the best deals and discounts. The shops with its enticing bright neon lights would be so magical and inviting, beckoning us to buy our dresses from them. Sometimes we would get “Pattu Pavadai” which will be exclusively tailor made in our neighbourhood tailor shop in which case we would have the additional responsibility of giving multiple reminders to the tailor to stitch it on time for the festival.
Every night after the dress shopping, we would be dreaming in Technicolor about how pretty we will be looking wearing that new dress on the Diwali day. Even in School, we would be discussing about our new dresses with our friends and eagerly looking forward to the special day when we will be allowed to wear our “color dress” (meaning un-uniform) in school after the festival.
2. Sweets and Savouries
Diwali is synonymous with mouth watering sweets. Unlike these days, the sweets and savouries will be made at home lovingly to be shared with friends, relatives and neighbours. The lavish spread of sweets like Laddoos, Mysore Pak, Coconut Barfi, Badam halwa, Gulaab jamoon along with murukku, mixture etc would be prepared by the combined effort of my mom and grand mom. I don’t know from where will they get that much energy to take up a massive activity like this. “Deepavali Legiyam” which will help in digesting all these rich high calorie dishes will also be prepared.
3. Fire Crackers
Few days before Diwali, we would get firecrackers which will be divided equally between the siblings. I still remember bursting the dots / cape rolls (probably the cheapest of all the firecrackers) using a hammer or toy gun for the whole afternoon. After we became slightly older, we moved on to “bijli vedi” which we would light it in the hand directly and throw it just in time before it is about to burst – all the time making sure that the other children in the street notice our heroics and bravery. The Taj Mahal cracker, Lakshmi vedi, flower pots, chakras, sparklers etc are few other crackers which we enjoyed bursting. All these were done in moderation only without causing much pollution to the surroundings.
4. The Big Day
The night before the big day, we would arrange all our new clothes, sweets, crackers, fruits, aromatic oil etc in front of God. It is customary to wake up very early before the Sunrise on Diwali day. But mostly we would be so excited to even sleep, waiting to hear the first sound of the firecrackers in the locality. In the morning, my mom would make us sit on a decorated wooden plank for applying oil after which we would have hot water bath. Then the much awaited moment of wearing the new Diwali dress, jewellery and getting ready to step outside the house to accept people’s appreciations graciously like a princess. Nothing else could make a little girl happier than getting admiring glances and generous compliments from onlookers.
5. Visiting Friends and Relatives
After firing crackers in the morning, we would distribute our home made sweets to our friends and neighbours. There would be many people visiting us through out the day unannounced asking the customary question “Ganga Snanam aacha?” filling the entire household with joy, fun and laughter.
The true spirit of any festival is to bring family and friends together to enjoy life as it is meant to be. In this age and time, people are increasingly becoming aloof and living in a small circle that they miss out on life’s most important purpose which is spreading cheers and enjoying the company of each other.
This Diwali let us light lamps, welcome good things and share the happiness with people around us. Let us vow to recreate wonderful memories for our children in the same way we did in our childhood.
Wish you all a wonderful Diwali 2015!!
(Photo Courtesy – Internet)