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Deepavali (Diwali, Deevali, Deepabali etc.) - Price of Growing......

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Posted 28th October 2008 at 10:51 AM by Dr. L. Ramakrishnan

I have not posted a blog here for quite some time. Let me try something more personal; I am not sure if such a piece is appropriate here.

Deepavali (Diwali, Deevali, Deepabali etc.) has been one of the great festivals of Indians, especially Hindus. As children we used enjoy cracking crackers, lighting sparkles, firing fire-works with the family and friends. We used to enjoy the sweets, savouries and nuts specially made available for the festival. While the festivities, in the south of India, start one day prior to the Naraga Chathurthi, the day when Lord Vishu (Good) killed Narakasura (Evil), we used to go to bed that night with happy feelings about the next day. The Deepavali day used to start at 3.00 a.m. Elders used to get up much earlier and used to wake up children a little later. Traditionally in our family our mother used to set fire to the first cracker at about 3.30 hrs. On the Deepavali day we would take "Ganga Snanam", basically taking hot water bath after applying til oil all over the body including head, and using Sihakkai powder made from a naturally occuring fruit (dry) which has a shampoo effect. As children we used to dread the oil and Sihakkai getting into the eye. By the time we used to come out of the bathroom, where mother used to give the bath, our eyes used to be RED. This was up to the age of 5.

After the oil bath mother used to give us, children, New clothes to wear...we used to wait for wearing them and running for the crackers and fire-works. It used to be fun "making money to soot" in no time; always we used to feel that the neighbours had more crackers than us (they also used to feel the same). We were supposed to use all the quota of the fire-works and sparkles before Sunrise; crackers could wait till after the Sunrise.

By around and after 6.00 o'clock used to be the time for eating the Deepavali specials...not only at home but also at various other places. We used to go to elders in the neighbourhood around to wish them and take their blessings on the auspicious day; of course they used to give us a lot to eat. Traditionally along with the sweets etc., mother used to give us also special home made Deepavali medicine...to take care of all the over-eating.

In those days it was a must to go for a newly released movie on the Deepavali day, for the matinee show...i.e. between about 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm. After the movie again it was time for crackers and sparkles till about 9.00 pm. After a late dinner it used to be a great sleep. The "money to soot" activity used to extend for about two to three days...till stocks get reduced to a level that is required for the next festive day which needed crackers, i.e. Karthikai, sometime in November.

As we grew, all these changed. For study and work I moved out of Chennai. Going and celebrating Deepavali with parents and brothers became rare...cracking crackers or firing fire-works became a NO - I have become more environmentally conscious !! Of course, after marriage and children, Deepavali was an occasion for the children to enjoy (as I enjoyed when I was a child) with new clothes, eatables and TV shows.

As years moved, children had grown into ladies with their own families. They moved away from us with their husbands and have their own Deepavalis. My wife is away with one of them to day enjoying the company of her grand children...I am alone...not at home but in Bangkok, where no one (that is Thais don't..Indians here do celebrate) celebrates Deepavali. I am working on a Deepavali day !!!! I will be travelling on our official Deepavali holidays!!!

That is the price of Growing....
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  1. Old Comment
    Marc's Avatar
    Happy Deepavali 2011!

    Yes - You are right. Time marches on and with it comes many changes, especially as seen the older one gets.

    Some people believe change is good, and some believe change is bad. Either way it is as inevitable. Lamenting for past times is quite normal, but usually the remembrances of the past in a better light is littered with emotion and the aspect of remembering the good and forgetting (or mentally modifying for the better) the bad.

    The older one is the more interesting it is to look back at "The Good Old Days".
    Posted 25th October 2011 at 06:56 AM by Marc Marc is offline
 
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