Wednesday, October 18, 2006
NRI Diwali Special Part I
Its three more days to Diwali and I am sitting at work writing a job description for a new position that needs to be created, classified, posted, recruited, interviewed and hired as soon as I can. Well, what else can we, other NRI's who work and study here in the US do other than fantasising about their childhood Diwali days and buying calling cards to call India to ask about the Diwali preparations at home.
Earlier, during school and college years when I was in Chennai, I wasn't a big fan of Diwali, mainly bcos I was afraid of crackers. My fun with crackers was restricted to the sparklers aka "kambi mathapu" and flower pots aka "boos vaanam". Vedis such as electric pataasu and even cape guns were banned in my house since I would crawl under the bed with my ears stuffed with cotton and my heart beating loudly at every sound made bya cracker in the neighbourhood. But, what made me still look forward to those Diwali days back then?
A week or so prior to the Diwali day, my parents would take me to Naidu Hall and Nalli etc. for Diwali shopping and a salwar or a midi would be the choice of the day. Today, as I look at all the online apparel business and hear about the crowds at the shops in T.Nagar from my folks, it seems like a lot more gala has been added to the festivities, simply bcos new fashion apparel like modern designer clothes, traditional silk saree varieties and even so many latest trends for men's wear and kids- the new tinkerbell pattu pavadais etc. coupled with the Diwali bonanza, mega sale at Pothy's, Saravana Sotes, Globus, Lifestyle etc. has made the whole package more attractive.
The crackers- What with Subhiksha and many shops offering all the latest types of crackers and lamps-diyas etc.it is indeed a kids delight to celebrate Diwali.
Of course, when we call our parents, they keep saying, now that you've all grown up and gone away, there is no one to burst crackers, so we haven't bought any, just a few sparklers for namesake.
Then, the sweet and savory making time at home. The women of the household-ammas, grandmas etc. would all join together or exchange recipes on making laddos, thengoyal etc. Of course, the special Diwali "legiyam" would top the list, so that it will do good for digesting all the goodies. Slowly, even that started to change. My mom mentions that since all the youngsters have grown up and nobody has the enthu anymore, they have resorted to Krishna Sweets, Grand Sweets and other outsourced Iyer mami's to order their muruku, badusha etc.
On Diwali, visits to temples and grandparents and relatives houses, adjusting the visits such that we don't miss the special programs on Sun Tv would always be memorable. Today, when I see all the advertisements for the shops and Diwali sales and also the preview for the special programs that are going to be screened on Saturday, it touches a memory chord to the years spent in India.
Well, without adding more senti- its still good to have those memories, but living far away here, we can still make do whatver is feasible and fun for us.