Skip to main content

Liquid Spirit

My blogging schedule is somewhat akin to what regularly used to happen to friends on bike trips. Like their rides, the year started decently enough and I averaged a steady 2 posts a month. Which, considering my 'dull-as-ditchwater' life, is awesome. Then the wheels came off in August (like a Bullet's silencer on one ride) and there just wasn't anything to write about. Nothing cheerful anyway, and my loyal readership of one hinted strongly that I should put a sock in the melancholy blathering. So that was that.

But Diwali happened and it's given me an excuse to pen this.

I like Diwali. The goodwill, warm wishes and hope for the new year affects even a curmudgeon like me, so there's some mighty powerful waves floating around I reckon. The sibling and I gave up on the dreadful Tamil Diwali custom of waking up at dawn for an oil bath many years ago and our parents got the message. Of course, the fact that we'd get to burst firecrackers and eat like starving animals right after was awesome, but the enthusiasm wore out. I used to love having legiyum (and it is yum indeed) before pigging out shamelessly on Thattai, Thengol, Nada, Mixture, Ribbon Pakoda and what have you, right around breakfast time.

Used to is about right because nowadays I feel blessed to even get legiyum. See, the art of making Diwali snacks has evaporated in my family. Most of the women are now elderly or unenthusiastic, preferring to buy it outside. And who could blame them? It was a heck of a lot of work to begin with. And I can't imagine how galling it must have been for the ladies to see their backbreaking efforts scarfed down along with hot coffee by the clueless, lazy men of the house without so much as a smidgeon of gratitude.

Also, with expanding waistlines and lungs that feel like leaky bellows, we've become health-conscious, which is a polite way of calling ourselves boring. So, nowadays most of our efforts are geared towards distributing whatever dreadful sweets we get somewhere else, faster. Like dealing cards at Rummy, we just shuffle all the boxes and start handing out stuff.

We stopped bursting firecrackers years ago too. Don't get me wrong. Unlike much of 'Hysterical Twitter', I like 'em. Fountains, rockets and the colourful stuff, mainly. I never could enjoy the noisy ones. But the sibling and I felt strongly about the issue of child labour and simply quit one year, much to our poor father's confusion. However, he eventually cottoned on to the fact that it meant massive savings and no more was said about it. We dutifully tried to enthuse ourselves about getting new clothes. It's a lovely custom, but the charm is that of another age. Back when we were middle-class poor, new clothes were rare, reserved for birthdays, the arrival of generous relatives and Diwali. Now, we're blessed to be better off and pick up clothes whenever we want so don't feel the need for a special occasion. Though I still am very careful to make my clothes last for years. Some things, you just don't forget.

10 years ago, our lives changed forever. So did Diwali. I don't know how or why, but the onus fell on me to do something in the festive season. I made sure the brass lamps were washed with tamarind a couple of days ahead. I learned to trim the wicks, placed them in diyas around the house and lit them along with the sibling. It's the only thing we do for Diwali. 5 days a year, we try to embrace the spirit of togetherness. It's also a way for us to signal the heavens. That the years may go by, furniture may be different, kitchen get remodeled multiple times and rooms get exchanged. But there will always be a light on in the window. For her.

Besides, who can argue with the loveliness that is the light of a simple lamp on a moonless Diwali night? It truly is symbolic. Darkness is always around. But all it takes is a little crack in our veneer of cynicism for the light to get in.

Here's wishing you a wonderful festival of lights.

Song for the moment: Idea Spiral - Cell (Ozora Festival Edit)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Night Boat

I usually don't write honest pieces. They're true to facts but I tend to lather my emotions and thoughts with a heavy dose of attempted humour or misdirection. This post deserves some raw emotional honesty, though.

Yesterday, 29th August, a Tuesday (or should I say, another Tuesday) was about me making choices. It was raining quite heavily when I left for office, sheeted down the windows of the train throughout the 1-hour journey to Churchgate and kept going with renewed intensity by the time I made it to the entrance, looking verily like something that had drowned in a gutter and lain there a while before being discovered by a cat and dragged in. I made the choice to go to work as I suspected my boss would be there and not because I wanted to go.

I was right about my boss but that cardiac fizz of being right flattened out rather rapidly once I realised, around 11:30 am, that no one else from my team of 20 had bothered to make a similar effort. And, some of these guys live 5 …

Drink up and be somebody

Dear Reader,

History will boldly testify that your favourite blogger is usually slow on the uptake, a state of affairs that's blooming with each passing year like a reverse-Revital. "Why this self-harshness, G", you may ask? Well...

I've been doing the Bom-Pune-Bom trips for 9 years and it's taken about that long to accept that MSRTC Shivneri, still the best bus service of them all, simply cannot (or, realistically, will not) cope with 3-day weekends. Since my job profile does not allow me to plan my travel in advance on said Fridays, I land up at Dadar, view the queue of potential passengers snaking a long way from the ticket window and mentally prepare to arrive home at the hour of morning reserved for sheepish teenagers and dacoits. The Expressway doesn't help anyone's cause thanks to truck drivers spreading themselves generously across 3 lanes and clogging the Lonavala pass to a point where the traffic jam is about 3 km long. A stretch that would tak…

Country Comforts

Part 1

With timing that was far more impeccable than their usual service, the MSRTC went on strike 2 days before Diwali over a pay dispute. I've traveled on their buses for close to 9 years and know full well just how popular they can be just before a major holiday. The chaotic crowd at Dadar is so dense, one would only need to introduce a few Naga sadhus into the mix and hey presto! we've got ourselves a brand new Kumbh Mela. Albeit one where getting out of Bombay ASAP is the only kind of salvation devotees seek. 

News and newspapers being what they are at present, I was unaware of the jolly bus crisis until Wednesday morning when a well-wisher asked how I proposed to go home for the holidays, flourishing the paper in my face with the reluctant panache of a small-town magician. Realising the gravity of the situation, I looked up train schedules and was stunned to find General category seats available on an outstation train departing later that afternoon. As far as I could see, …