On the Deepavali eve, once the morning crackers are done with, Amma used to send me with plates of sweets and savories that she had prepared to be given to the friends and neighbors. In return, we used to get what they prepared. It used to be fun eating all different types of Murukus, Athirasams, Nipattulus etc. In early years, we used to accompany Amma to the temple for pooja, later she used to go on her own. At my place, hubby dear is the one who does the puja, so I am off these things. I ensure we follow all our Hindu customs, but never like to think I should be the one to do the pooja or the rituals. I prepare the neivedyam and hubby dear carries with the rest. So the entire Diwali day is spent just running around.
Deepavali is celebrated in joy of the Demon Narakasura’s fall. So its celebrated with lilting diyas around the house. So when evening comes, we get ready to light the diyas or Depallu as we call. Amma must’ve had some 30 or so diyas, all cleaned and oiled. It used to be my task to light all of them and lit the verandah and the entire house. Apart from the diyas, we used to light the candles along. We fill a plate with all the diyas in place, lit them and carry them to the threshold. Whenever I see Amma carrying the plate with lamps, I think of the ‘Lady with the Lamp’. This year, my nieces were busy doing it. I fondly remembered doing it at their age.
Once the evening pooja is done, we all again assemble outside. Dad and Mom join us for the crackers. Amma lights the crackers, while we light the flower pots. Dad will be busy taking photos. We will have the entire colony folks around. All greeting each other and wishing a wonderful time. Then when the parents feel they had their fill, they retire to watch programs in TV, while we continue with our bombs. It used to go till 8 or so. Then have our dinner, which used to be light after the heavy lunch. Once the deepavali firecrackers are done, we keep some for karthika purnami which falls during December. I guess once my kids grow up, I need to ensure I tell them all these things.
In Tamil Nadu, the tradition of thala deepavali is very important. We mockingly call it as Head Deepavali. Thala Deepavali is newly married couple’s first Deepavali. During this festival, the bride and the groom visit the bride’s place and celebrate with their family. Mine fell one week after the wedding, so the entire celebrations were extended for over weeks. Gold is bought during Diwali as Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped. So this is another occasion where the bride is again given jewels and the son in law gifted with loads of stuff. In Andhra, we visit mother’s place for Sanskrati, so for us all the festivals become important.
Every year we make sure to meet the family for the Deepavali, with the entire hubby’s family gathering at home for the festival. Last year, we celebrated the arrival of the twins. This year, all of us were in different places, Sree visited his inlaws and parents are in a different city, so we might we might as well visit my sils for the festival. So this year, after many years, I ended up having three day affair for Deepavali. In the evening, we all gathered to see the kids lighting the flowerpots and Sankuchakram. My daughter did not enjoy her first deepavali, she was too scared of the noise and was hugging us the entire day. That was the first deepavali, we didn’t do anything in terms of crackers. From the next deepavali, she refused to come inside, as she was busy with all the crackers. Since we were traveling by the evening, we didn’t do any crackers in Chennai. So when we reached our destination, first thing my daughter did was asking her uncle, when they were going to fire the crackers. He had got pistols for all the kids and the entire day they spent playing with the fire pistols. Though my twins enjoyed the rockets bursting in the sky in Chennai, at my sil’s place, as the place was relatively much calmer, they were upset with the noise. It was fun watching them walking, suddenly they hear the bomb go boom, they try to run with their baby steps, hurriedly come and hug me. It was so cute watching them do that.
All the three days was fun, this is the first time after many years, I haven’t budged a finger except for taking pictures. My sils did a wonderful job of cooking and the final day lunch was even more laborious and special for their brother. They didn’t want to let me off, so made a veg curry for me, which was really yum. Will be blogging the recipes soon.
The morning breakfast was Uggani, which is popular in Ananthapuram district. Any place you go, you can catch a sight of street carts with big heap of Uggani, decorated with Chilli Bajjis. This is my favorite and since its quite heavy, I make it for dinner. While my in-laws make it for breakfast. so they prepared it for us in the morning. I got ready to capture the long green chillies being stuffed with cumin, Coriander and salt powder. Normally Athamma fries them in tawa before making the bajji, but my sils just went ahead. I was quite apprehensive on the fiery of the chilli, but it was so wonderful. The puffed rice was a different variety than the ones we get here. To touch it felt like a flower, so soft and wonderful to feel. When you take a morsel, you don’t feel any strain, it just slides down so smooth with the chilli bajjis. It was one wonderful breakfast.
Thank you all for reading my prosaic rambling. I felt really happy reading each and every comment.