Its been my third Diwali away from home. Although we still try, nothing can beat celebrating Diwali in India. There is so much of celebrations, lights and happiness around. Even the Christmas here is not so big. Christmas is a very warm festival with Christmas carols and all but it does not achieve the status and fun of Diwali.
After last year’s Diwali celebration, it was turn of the Diwali celebrations this year. The problem of celebrating Diwali here is you have to do with whatever is available here. Fortunately with India going global, everything is available in far off countries, well almost everything. China still beats India here too. Check out the stores for Chinese New Year in February and you know what I mean.
Diwali started on a weekend and that feels good. At least I don’t miss on a holiday. Netherlands still does not have a holiday for Diwali. Sad!
Friday started with getting excited about Diwali and Don. At the end of the day, the excitement for Diwali was still there while Don was a big letdown. Saturday is what we call in Marathi as “Pehli Anghol” (the first bath, literal meaning and yes I do bath everyday of the year). Pehli anghol is when we get up early, crush karit under the feet on the pretext of killing the demon, taking a bath with Uthna and wearing the new clothes and then sweets (Falal) then on to the grounds for show off or to burst crackers. Here its different. I get up early though. This year I though of making a kandil. Difficult to get the paper for making them. Fortunately Ranjana and Sheena did hunt the papers for making them. Finally after 2 hours of struggling with plastic type paper and a lot of help from Sheena, we did manage to make a colorful kandil. I must say not bad of an effort, not bad at all.
Evening we had friends over, had a nice dinner before retiring for the day. The good thing about having a dinner party is you tend to enjoy with your friends. Its kind of a festive atmosphere, almost a fair.
Sunday was spent in planning for Diwali celebration in the office on Monday. I don’t understand why I tend to make the most difficult dish or the dish that takes most of my time. I still had to make Kandil for the office. It is a case of “Aaa bail mujhe maar”. Two hours after the first step and I am tired. I sleep for 2 hours promising to get up after half hour. I fail!
Monday had to get up at 5:00 AM in the morning to prepare for the Diwali celebration. I make Vegetarian pattice or whatever we call them. I like to call them vegetarian patties. The celebration is planned in late afternoon. Mostly everyone has made something. We realize that it was going to be too much of snacks. I start assuring everyone that they will get my delicious veg. patties for home today.
I had brought the kandil from home strictly on loan from Sheena. Just for a day and then I have to return it back. We arrange the snacks in the conference room. The smell of Indian spices fill up the room. The room does not have a window and the smell will remain. We had brought small candles from the store. It’s a culture to light up diyas or earthen lamps during Diwali. We do with whatever we have. Also its easier to clean wax than cleaning oil from a table.
An hour later everybody has eaten a lot. We gave them a mini dinner of sort. People were happy and full. It is nice to be a part of an event well-done.
I made veg patties, A made besan laddus, Y and his wife made idlis and lots of them and he also made Shirkurma. It was Idd after all. M made coconut sweets and a Marathi dish called Chiwda. N and his wife made fried balls filled with Cocount and other fillings. His was the only dish which was liked and finished by everyone. I did give the patties to almost everyone.
The food we prepared. Those black, burnt-out patties were made by me. The candles were arranged like a runway. We changed that later to rows. It looked like a rangoli.
I made that. Its veg. pattice with patatoes filled in. Sure they looked a little burn-outs but that’s five hours of cooking. So be careful what you say about them.
Those are the idlis made by “Y”‘s wife. They are more than 100s of them. The round ball on the right is what N and his wife made. Simply delicious
That’s the kandil that took me 2 hours to make. Notice how beautiful, colorful and fantastic it looks.
All in all, a nice Diwali, really nice! And even though it’s a little late;
Wish you all a happy and prosperous Diwali!!