is not so much the sweets or even the socialising. it’s not the sound of lakshmi vedis, the smell of ‘atom bombs’ or the sight of flower pots. it’s not even the excitement of shopping for new clothes. till I was about 15, I got only 3 ‘good clothes’ a year — the party wear stuff — for my birthday, pongal and deepavalli. if there were weddings or some other occasion in the family of course there were extra trips made to pondy bazaar. fortunately, given how large my family is, this was about twice a year.
i digress, as usual.
what i miss is the preparation. a good month before deepavalli the crackers order form would come home and after long deliberation and many fights we would try and fit all our choices into the family budget. then a week before d-day, the dabba would arrive, and late into the night it used to be apportioned amongst us sisters. a similar exercise would be on one floor below between my cousins.
the night before deepavalli all the crackers would be laid out, in order of spend. the best for the first, the longest for the last.
and then the day would arrive and pass as it would in millions of homes in india. but i miss the tradition of ordering the ‘pataas’, of sharing it…
i feel a wee bit sad that everything is different now. O (and N) don’t really know the thrill of new clothes, because it’s bought so casually, so often. they will have little idea what ‘real treats’ feel like — because double incomes are not about providing alone, but of ensuring plenty!