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Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Diwali Mela

I’m not a Diwali shopper for obvious reasons! The markets are far too crowded and rushed with genuine shoppers for me to indulge in window shopping. So , I usually desist.
Also, a long time ago, when I was out shopping during Diwali in a very crowded part of the city, I heard a woman howling piteously because someone had stolen her money-bag. She lamented about the money she had lost, the answers she will have to give at home and at the end, the despair her children will feel. So deep and heart-breaking was her anguish that it felt as though she had lost a loved one. Though I wanted to help her, I was not at that stage in my life when I could monetarily recompense her in any way. The lady was there with a relative and both women were genuinely grieved at the loss.
That incident is always fresh in my mind….maybe thats why I don’t make a big deal of buying new things or clothes during Eid. Sure I do buy stuff, but I usually buy the clothes whenever I get the chance and not necessarily around Eid time. I’m not afraid of pickpockets……I just don’t want to build up the anticipation in my children. God forbid, if  I’m unable to fulfill their expectation, I would be in the same place as that woman and that is somewhere I don’t want to be 😦

So yeah, i buy stuff around the year as and when I get the chance. Also, I get to shop without the hustle and bustle. Sometimes, I get great  off-season deals too 🙂

Anyhow, this post isn’t about me going out shopping. I wanted to talk about what happens when the shops come to me 😐

People who know me, also know that I have very little control over my purse strings. Show me something pretty, weave a sad little tale around it and chances are that I will fish out my purse and shell out whatever amount you quote for it.

Its a disease!

Needless to say, I’ve been putty in the hands of hardened salesmen and women. Being older and wiser, I don’t allow any of them near my door anymore. But seriously, how do you control yourself when your office arranges a plethora of stalls for Diwali shopping right in your work-premises?! I mean, check out the stuff below….who can resist, I ask you!

Sparkling stones.....!

Sparkling stones…..!

I had a tough time pulling myself away from the glittering tables loaded with stone jewellery. They were so sparkly I sure my eyes twinkled just looking at them 😐

The *ahem* price tags changed my mind. Spoilsports!

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Little diyas and tea-lights

The diyas surprisingly didn’t find many takers….I think even my Diwali celebrating friends found them too steeply priced. The tea-lights were priced between 400-500 for a set of three. For that rate, I’ll simply light up the bulbs in my house 😐

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Pretty mugs and haldi-kumkum cases

The haldi-kumkum containers were cute. I’ve never seen them before so they were a novelty. A pity that I have no need of them 😦

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Baubles….loads of them!

Confession time  – The baubles drew the largest crowds. I think I must have personally held each and every piece in my hand before replacing it back with a big sigh. Why oh why are delicate, beady necklaces so expensive 😦

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Aroma dispensers

This aromatherapy diffuser was my personal favorite.It was so cute and effective! Just light a small lamp inside and add a few drops of aromatic oils to two tablespoons of water in the top container. The heat from the lamp will diffuse the oild all over the room. Enchanting! I booked one immediately. Alas, I didn’t buy it at the end of the day. The renovations in my house will begin shortly and I realized that I shouldn’t be adding to the existing clutter.

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More colourful diyas

These diyas were expensive too. But yet, it found some takers 🙂

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Pretty kurtas

I took a fancy to this black and blue kurta, although it was two sizes too small for me. It was just so fish-like (the light blue sleeves go right down till the bottom of the kurta, something like fish fins) and different, I just had to have it. The wise friend who had accompanied me, made me see the truth and dragged me away from that counter 😦

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Awesome handcrafted lanterns

These were the most beautiful lanterns I have ever seen. They may be common to many, having seeing them before, but I think that the fellow who made them must be a very talented chap to make the cut-outs so neat and clean!

Of all the stuff above, I didn’t buy anything. But I did buy a beautiful white Lucknowi kurta which was exorbitantly priced at 1170/-. But the fabric was pure heaven and I  just had to have it 🙂

I also bought a nice cotton dress-material for the MIL. Haven’t shown it to her though. Will get it stitched and then surprise her with it 🙂

Also bought a pack of Khakhra and garlic-sev for the in-between hunger times in office. I had withdrawn 2K from the office ATM and at the end, I was left with a Rs.50 note 😦 . I’m awfully apologetic towards all those people whom I had booked stuff with, but didn’t bother to buy from. I hope the booking amount keeps you happy….don’t want to ruin your Diwali, seriously 🙂

I hadn’t planned on spending as much as I did yesterday, but I’m sure you all must have splurged for Diwali 🙂

Since most people will be on leave from tomorrow itself, here’s wishing you all a lovely, bright and safe Diwali.

Bring out the lights people 🙂

Love,

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“Even though we’ve changed and we’re all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we’ll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not all still friends.” – Anonymous

So true, isn’t it? That in spite of our differences, our distances and our demeanour, we can never change to an extent that it becomes impossible to be friends .

And that is how, after months of blogging , I came face to face with G. And then Pallu. And finally, Unmana (of “The voices in my head” fame). It is such a privilege to meet new people….specially those whose ideas and thoughts you concur, who say what you wanted to, but only better 🙂 .

G invited us over to her place for Diwali this year (and she said I’m not permitted to enter her home unless I get the twins along. * Sigh*. She asked for it 😀 !!) .  So after a hectic morning of cooking, cleaning, washing, running after the twins, their meal, bath, dressing up, packing their bag , I was almost ready to call it quits. But NO. I’d promised I would come and so I shall be there. The BF got a hundred calls from office (yep…he works in the ONLY company in this country that works full time on Diwali!) and was yelling at me to hurry up. At the door, while putting on the twin’s shoes, we realized that something smelt funny. Oh right. The twins had pooped. BOTH of them. Great timing, as usual!! The BF was turning shades bordering on red-maroon-purple and slowly proceeding towards doing the hopping act. I worked as fast as I could to change the twins, pull up their pants, put on their shoes and shoo them out of the house. In time. The BF was almost apoplectic. But the day was saved 😀 . We took a longer (but traffic-free) highway route to G’s place (which is in one of the most awesome locations ever!!). The BF dropped me till the doorway and in spite of the repeated requests to come in from G, could not ignore the frantic calls on his blackberry. He bid us goodbye and left.

G looked great! She had a fabulous new hair-cut in place which totally brought out her impish smile 🙂 . She and the Boy were perfect hosts, making us feel all welcome and homely. As soon as they were inside, the kids made a beeline for everything that was within their reach ! So my first reaction on entering was , ” No SS NO!! Don’t run. Hi, you must be Ritesh. Happy Diwa- RS Stop that. Don’t pull that cushion. Sorry G, the kids are pretty chirpy today. Hi Ritesh, sorry about – SS. No!! Don’t pull those flowers. Come here . Sit next to me. He he. Happy Diwali guys. RS!!!NOOOOOOO!! You’ll break that glass….”. You get the drift 😦

My kids attacked the snack table as soon as they laid their eyes on it 😦 ….I could’ve melted into a puddle of embarrassment if it wasn’t for G playfully feeding the twins more stuff!! Not only that, she also cleaned up the mess. FOUR times!! Thats immense patience, I tell you 🙂 (G has the makings of a “Good Momma” . Not that I’m hinting or anything. Just saying :D) . Though she kept prodding me to have some more stuff, keeping an eye on the twins severely affected my appetite. I couldn’t really sit and eat while they wreaked havoc at poor G’s place!! By the way, check out the beautiful Diwali evening pics she posted here (if you haven’t already 😀 ).

 But hog I did , once the kids got used to the new environment and new people.  G had some guests at her place and RS didn’t mind walking off into the sunset with them. G had to go down and retrieve the little monster! We spent some time in the adjacent garden (which again had the most gorgeous view of the neighbouring hill-side). The twins had fun running around, chasing each other, gazing at the little plants and colourful flowers. I thought the kids would have tired out by now and would like a snooze.

How wrong could I, their mother, be?!!

The twins refused to sleep. RS was eyes G’s bangle/bracelet stand, and if it wasn’t for me warning her of the ‘old-man-who-kidnaps-kids-who-touch-other-people’s-stuff’ , she would have helped herself to the entire collection! But since I wouldn’t let her, she decided to make my life miserable and pooped again.

Groan 😦

Just when I was busy changing her diaper, in comes Unmana.

I heard her before I saw her. And like they say, first impressions always stay with you. So I heard a lightly husky voice, the timbre rich and a laugh full of grace (NO ONE would EVER make the mistake of associating such terms with my hyena-ish laugh. Gloom 😥  ) . Once I was done with RS, I turned to meet my new blog-friend.

Unmana is just as lovely as I’d assumed. In fact, even more. And the Guy is a cheerfully shy person (the BF, for the record is just plain shy. Period. I call him glum-chum  😀 ). We had a nice one hour chatting up on this and that and you won’t believe it, we never brought up the topic of ‘blogging’. We never referred to each other’s blog or any particular post. We just chatted, catching up with each other’s life, the work, the city,etc. It was fun 🙂

And then we had lunch. G had made some really good Misal-paav and I demolished quite a few paavs. As did the twins (except for the fact that SS was busy trying to cut into it with a spoon and RS was busy yanking smaller bits of it and feeding her brother!). Somehow, having an audience always stimulates the twins into acting like energizer bunnies. So the more we laughed at their antics, the more they worked on them 😀 .

Since it was Aapa’s and cousin L’s birthday that day, I had promised them that I would be dropping by. Unmana was kind enough to offer a ride halfway through to my destination .The twins didn’t behave all that well this time 😦 . RS spent a major chunk of time just staring at poor Unmana and SS kept busy by jumping on the rear seat and refusing to sit in one place for more than a second. As usual, I had a tough time stopping him from disturbing The Guy and wanting to sit in the driver’s seat!

It had started raining hard by the time we reached Camp and in my hurry to get the twins out of the car and into a waiting auto before they get soaked, I didn’t get the time to say a proper Thank You to the lovely couple or even a “Happy Diwali”!! I didn’t have the foresight to get Unmana’s number and even G’s phone was out of reach. Great!!

But the good part is that we got together. To spend time in each other’s company. And like G says, it has to do with bonhomie. And I can see her point. This is what  festivity feels like….to be with friends around whom you can be yourself 🙂

The only sad part was that Pallu couldn’t make it. We SO missed her 😦 . Her lovely presence and ebullience would have added to the charm of the day. Alas, some other time.

The twins were so kicked about the visit, they were on an adrenalin rush throughout the day! So much so that once back home (before the firecrackers started), RS was bouncing around and banged her head against a table corner, barely missing her eye. The poor thing had a black eye for the next three days. Though the swelling came down, the nick which she got has left a scar. My poor baby 😦

OHH  NO!!

I’m on the mommy tangent again! Sorry about that folks. It happens quite often with me these days…I start talking about something and suddenly, I end up talking about the twins.

Anyhow, I’m just glad that I got to spend time with two lovely, wonderful people and look forward to more such time together.

Thanks for having us over G. It was totally worth travelling all that way 🙂

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PS: I had a camera with me throughout the day.

PPS : I never took a single snap 😦

*Sigh* What a failure *Sigh*



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Err…before you get any wrong notions, I refer to Spirit as in character and NOT as in Johnny Walker (did I spell that right?)

Last Sunday (the one before Diwali), we were returning from a relative’s place. It was pretty late and all the shops were closed. But there were lights glittering from balconies, awnings and gates. It was a pretty sight. The MIL mentioned how the city gets transformed during Diwali. The BF immediately replied saying that the Diwali celebrated today comes nowhere close to how it was during his childhood.

At that time, I didn’t much attention to his words…but now, for the last few days, I’ve been looking around. And I know what he means.

It’s just not the same anymore 😦

Sure, there are lights…there are crackers, new clothes and sweets.

But where’s the spirit people?!!

That longing-for-Diwali feeling, the tortuous wait for buying new clothes, the barely concealed anticipation of lighting crackers, the arduous days spent cleaning up the house, the late night session of sitting in the kitchen helping the mother make karanjis, laddoos and chivda….

You guys might feel that a  moderate muslim like me is ranting and knows nothing about Diwali.

But the fact of the matter is that, I do.

As an outsider, I observe more. And I see changes, not all complimentary.

I know that sweets are bought from the sweet-mart, that operation clean-up took place just a couple of days before the festival. That shopping was done at the neighbourhood mall.

And this is where the essence is lacking.

Because, the malls encourage us to shop all through the year. We buy new clothes so many times a year, that the novelty of shopping for Diwali is lost. It’s just another function for glittery clothes .

Crackers used to be one unique thing about Diwali, but now we find them throughout the year. So it isn’t only just Diwali, crackers are burst for Dussehra, Ganesh Chaturthi, Mahavir Jayanti, Shivaji Jayanti,Christmas and in some locations, even on Eid. Not to mention, Independance day, Republic day and Gandhi Jayanti. And every procession, every political rally, and yeah, also every baraat that passes on the road.

We hear crackers round the year.

I remember that the fire-light show in army cantonments were a much awaited event. We waited an entire year to witness the spectacle. We were full of awe, our jaws gaping, eyes on the sky to catch every rocket that burst its starry baggage.

I remember the invitation to friend’s houses…their families all dressed in their Diwali best, the mothers doling out sweets by the dozens, forcing us to down one more laddoo 🙂

I remember the nights dad would teach us to light a chakri or an anaar. It was an achievement of sorts if I didn’t drop a phooljhadi before it reached its end 😀

I remember buying those clay diyas to line the balcony, painstakingly filling them with oil and adding a cotton batti to each.

I remember walking with my family around the neighbourhood without the fear of faulty rockets heading towards us or the jumping-out-of-skin, ear-drum-tearing fear of ‘bombs’.

I remember those holidays spent helping mom make karanjis or chaklis. So what if we were muslims, sweets have no religion, do they 😀 !!

I remember helping my class teacher make colourful rangolis outside the classroom with flower petals.

And now, as I held my two whimpering, sobbing kids close to me, the BF double checking that all the windows and doors were shut tight and the BIL making up stories to divert the twin’s attention, I wonder, what went wrong!

When did the “Festival of Lights” turn into a “Festival of Sound”?

Why did people pride themselves in bursting the loudest bomb ever?

Why is a “1000-ladi bomb” an attraction of sorts?

This is not the Diwali I want to introduce my children to. Not the one where I fear for their safety if they step out of the house. Not the one where I dread the smoke they are breathing in. Not the one where they are too young to understand to close their ears and their mother ,who has no idea when the next bomb will go off, is inevitably late in doing the needful.

The only silver lining (or colourful lining) was the presence of lights. Plenty of it…in different shades….all around. The one sight that the twins enjoyed when they were not busy crying their heart out over the noise.

This last week’s been rather traumatic for the two. They wake up whimpering when a bomb goes off at 2 am and I have a tough time putting them back to sleep.  I am angry and frustrated. Angry because this is not how Diwali should be. And frustrated, because, alas, I can’t show my kids any better…I can’t take them back in time to show them how beautiful the festival once was. How wonderful this festival could be!!

And then, the downstairs neighbour sends over a large platter of home-made sweets and chaklis and namkeen and karanjis and I take a deep breath……and thank God….a slight tinge of the essence still exists !!

All’s not lost after all 😀

On that note, hope you all had a safe and great Diwali (not sure about the prosperous part though 😀 )

May the good tidings continue forever.

Ameen .



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