Update for week ended 4 November 2010
The brooms were out of the closet, as were the dishcloths and other pieces of rags quickly bundled together and kept handy in the red bucket. The woman of the house donned her pants and T-shirt and shouted out her instructions. This was the Diwali cleaning operation across the entire country, as every house got out their cleaners and sponges and detergents and stools (four legged varieties) to get their walls, ceilings, fans, windows all sparkling and squeaky clean. Sunday was the day to ensure that all members of the household lent a helping hand to the Lady of the House – so everyone got into the act. The hectic activities and discovery of muscles that many thought never existed, tired them out and they just plonked themselves on the closest couch, chair, bench, doorstep to relax. And then they had a simple dinner that day – a one pot meal. This was invigorating as everyone was ravenous and anything that tasted like food would have tasted like manna. On second thoughts, this was perhaps planned by the Lady of the house since she knew that the following days would see hordes of foodstuff being prepared for consumption over the weekend and beyond, and the family had to be healthy enough to stomach that much of fat, sugar and loads of “rich” food. The next day was her day – as she got out her kadhai, Indian style heavy bottom metal wok, and used it as a multipurpose kitchen tool – first to dry roast the gram flour, rice flakes, semolina; (separately of course) and then to heat oil for frying the goodies, sweet and savoury. The leftover oil or clarified butter was ingeniously woven into the next step of making sweetmeats that were drenched in the fat and sweetened with golden sugar syrup. The scents emanating from the kitchen were so overpowering that the heat and sweat did not keep away prying eyes, and naughty hands that wanted to dip into every steel tin or container and even a cajoling “please” by the apple-of-the-Houselady’s eye did not yield. But at the end of the sessions, the scraped bottoms of the kadhais and the bartans, vessels, were quickly distributed for everyone’s tasting and approval. A little adjustment of sweet here, a dash of more ghee there and voila, the magic was woven. The only thing left now was to decorate the house, as the finest linen draped the windows, and the sofa covers suddenly reappeared from the mothballed trunks, the torans , traditional doorframe decoration, were strung up, and the colourful rangolis, floor patterns, were artistically laid out. The only pending item was the oil lamps that needed to be lit and placed strategically across the house, one in the kitchen, one next to the prayer altar, one next to the tulsi plant, holy basil, and a few outside the house around the rangoli or kolam or alpana. All ready for the festival of light, colour, food and joy.
The D Boyz were busy cleaning up D Street for the Big D Day event this weekend. And as they started working out those “non-existing” muscles, they tired out during the first part of the week and in the bargain lay flat the SENSEX (like their position on the nearest couch, desk or wherever they could rest). But after a day or two when their wives shared some samples of the tasty snacks prepared for the festival weekend, they revived their sapped strengths and pushed up their favourite SENSEX on Wednesday. And when the black diamond’s cousin was being laid out on D Street – the Boyz could not contain their excitement – their overjoyed status got them to celebrate Diwali with a bang and close this week’s SENSEX height at an all time high of 20893 – 861 points up from the previous week. They don’t particularly care for the traffic restrictions around D street on Saturday when some foreigner visits the city in his bulletproof car and 20 year old airplane. They will work tomorrow though for their auspicious trading hour at 6 pm… They want to twinkle at their sparkling best.
Marigolds, rose petals, mango leaves are strewn all across as they find pride of place in every street corner and household. The sparkling and shiny silks rustle as the children go dashing out to show off their new garments to their friends. Mothers wear their favourite gold ornaments and don’t forget to spray on that perfume she bought at the swanky Manhattan store last summer. The husband is busy downloading traditional instrumental music onto the home computer and successfully connecting it to the home theatre system. And the blinking sparkling lights twinkle in their shades of blue, red, orange, green, pink…. lending that glow to the already sparkling house. Diwali, the festival of festivals is here.
I wish all my readers a fantastic Diwali. Be safe and enjoy yourselves, and I really look forward to your experiences this season. I am taking a short break and will be back mid November.