Empty thoughts and mutterings

Friday, October 20, 2006

Deepavali Ninaivugal

India la irukkum bodhu Deepavali a romba anticipate panni kondadina nyabagangal neraya undu. Over the last few years, Deepavali vandhadhum theriyaadhu, ponadhum theriyaadhu kanakkaa aagi pochu. Deepavali kku munnadi neraya e-mails varum. Messages varum. Adhukku reply panradhoda ennoda Deepavali over. For some strange reason, this year, a semblance of the enthusiasm has returned. I am driving to spend the deepavali with my brother, Sil, nephew and cousins. Memories from school/college time deepavali came flooding back today and I thought I’d write about some of them here.

Deepavali eve and the day of Deepavali were always spent at my Periappa’s place in Royapettah. Days of planning for what Pattaasu to buy, where to buy them, constant updates on the list given the limited budget, consultations with seniors with reference to the how best to distribute the money between the “Domestic” (Mathaappu, sangu chakram etc) and the “Real Crackers”, always preceded the eve of Deepavali. Man, if only I could put that kind of energy at my work place, I’d be real successful at what I am doing. We usually reached our periappa’s place at 6.30 in the evening. Unfortunately for me I had nobody in my age group in my appa’s side. So I usually ran off to see if I could find somebody in the neighborhood that I could socialize with. The dinner menu that night was always the same every year and I loved it because it was to the only night in the whole year that had a set menu. Vaazhakkai Bajji, Urulakazhangu kari, More kozhambu, Paruppusili, Small onion sambhar (which I hated with all my heart and everybody else seemed to love) and Poondu rasam. While the elder males talked about Provident fund schemes, the ladies talked about shopping for matching blouse bits and my elder cousins talking about college and GRE’s, I was kind of left alone. But all of these aforementioned people knew how to put a smile on my face instantly. All they had to say was “Kaarthaala ezhundhu Pattaasu vedikka porome” and I was beaming the next second.

“Amma, 3.30 kku ezhuppi vidanum, promise pannu” I used to say every year when I went to sleep that night. But I was always very worried that she would inopportunely use some of her limited supply of mercy that one day of all days and give me the “Paavam kozhandhai, innum konja neram thoongattum” break, when it was least called for. So I secretly planned to stay awake all night and surprise my mom when she tried to wake me up. Ofcourse, that plan never worked. Another tradition in our family was that it was my perimma who always burst the first saram signifying the start. Then the others followed. After Ganga snaanam, we had Periyavaa talking about the significance of deepavali on TV (I never actually saw it for more than 3 minutes), deepavali marundhu, and a lot of cracker bursting, we would get ready for oliyum oliyum. That afternoon was spent on visiting relatives and 10 Rs Namaskaarams, and more TV. At the end of the day, although it was pretty tiring with so much activity, the day always felt complete. Some memories from Deepavali days.

•It irritated me that everybody chose a saram for the “Saastra” Vedi. Out of my limited availaibility of sarams (about 10-15), about 5-6 was spent on relatives bursting Saastra vedis. “Yov, saastrathukku vedikkanumna, sangu chakram, bus vaanam nu evlo irukku, adha vedingalen ya, yen pozhappula yen ya mannalli podareenga ?” nu thonum !
•When I was in my 3 rd std in CBE, I had to be carried to the hospital, because Sivakasi la technical fault. Evano bus-vaanathla atom bomb marundha pottu vechuttan ! Padupaavi pasanga !
•Following that, I did not touch a single vedi till I was in my 8 th. By that time, people my age were starting to lose interest in Pattaasu. But I was bubbling with enthusiasm and one such time when I was doing all I could to impress a girl looking on, she walked up to me and said “Yaara impress panna try panra”. Appo Busss aanadhu pattaasu ille….ennoda moonji ! :)
•Was it just me or was the race to burst one cracker for the longest time always won by a Settu payyan in the street ?
•I remember watching Ramesh Krishnan Vs Wally Masur deciding game in the davis cup semifinals during deepavali day and RK with his non-serve and all won the big game in Australia. Anybody else recall that ?

Happy Deepavali everybody !