Monday, October 12, 2009

Speading sweetness

“I love Diwali, because during Diwali my mother makes karanji and ladoo and sells it in packets. With that money, we get new clothes and good food. That is why I love Diwail.” The ten year old girl’s eyes were gleaming as she spoke about her favourite festival. She had two neat plaits hanging down her back. Her clothes were spotlessly clean. Only the battered slippers gave her away as coming from a family that was surviving somewhere just above the poverty line.

Diwali means many things to many people.  Firecrackers, new clothes, sweets, lights, holidays, sales, family, fun. I know most people in India, regardless of their religion, look forward to the festival. But never before did I realize that many people look forward to the festival, because it gives them a chance to augment their family income.

Though neither a good cook, nor a cheerful one, I always try to make at least one sweet at home during Diwali. Coming from a family of good cooks, I lived under delusion that slaving over a hot fire was one way of demonstrating affection.  On the few years when I was forced to get shop bought sweets, they never seemed to mean as good as the home made ones, even if they tasted much better.

This year on, I am not going to attempt making any sweets at home. Enabling a family to celebrate a festival with greater gusto carries more significance than any self congratulatory things I may attempt.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think it looks like a wonderful time. This is going to sound kooky, but when my kids were toddlers, they *loved* the Teletubbies. Their favorite real-life segment on it? Diwali. They loved seeing the mountains of sweets, the chocolate fountain, the happy children... :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Elizabeth - for all that we decry TV, it is such a powerful medium isn't it? I would have thought kids anywhere except in India (or from Indian families) would have even heard about the festival. It is this Saturday, and I'll try to take lots of pictures!

Chary Johnson said...

Lovely story. I found it to be truly heart-warming. Eat a sweet for me please!

Honestly Rayna, I had never heard of Diwali until you introduced it to me last year. I love the colorful drawings and all the soft lights. It is quite brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I would love to experience Diwali for myself!

Enjoy the sweets!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Our neighbours starting firing off the firecrackers this past weekend. It sounds like a wonderful joyful time. Enjoy.


Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Chary - will do. And yes, it is my favourite festival- definitely the one with the most treasured memories.

@ Fiona - to really experience it, you need to come to India!

@ Elspeth - it is the most fun of all the Indian festivals.


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