Monday, October 31, 2005

I Miss India

Now more than ever! Seriously. I have written about the pre-deepavali prep1, the fireworks, the sweets and the actual celeberation. Don't have anything more to add to that. But I really feel sad and homesick when I read it now. Feel like asking the question about time travel again. Not many outside of Madras will know this and feel this or even identify with this (and this is not to belittle any other place) - One of the major things about being in Madras is its unique style of celeberating Deepavali. Very few parts of the country is so fireworks crazy as this place.
I imagine (thats the best I can do) that Madras is now zippy and alive as it can ever be. A trip around the Panagal Park-Usman road area will tell you that. A lot of people avoid this crowded place this time of the year. I would give anything to be there right now. I bet getting into Pothys will be more difficult than trekking up Kilimanjaro. Lalitha Jewllery would have the huge Lord. Balaji image (with bulbs etc). You can't miss it if you are coming in from Pondy Bazaar/Venkat Narayana road. If you are coming from W.Mambalam into T.Nagar Pothys will stand tall and resplendent.

The actual day always amazes me. Everybody wears a new dress. I love the small vehicle stops in the middle of the road to wait until somebody on the roads finishes bursting fireworks. Me - Personally - I am big fireworks fan. If I became the Prime Minister (even CM would do) I would reduce the cost of fireworks to like Rs.5 a Red Fort. I would encourage more R &D into this and make Sivakasi come up with new fangled fireworks. C'mon think of it! Which country in the world would you get to burst fireworks like this? How many people living in the world get to do this? I can never get over the small window of opportunity that this day offers to do something incredible. I miss the days where the firework noises would wake me up at 2:30 AM in the morning. I would like be so impatient finishing of the nalangu, oil bath, pray-to-god stuff in the morning that I am literally bursting out of the house by 4:00 AM. This is why I loved Madras vis-a-vis even another place in TN (say Nellai). The 2:30 AM to midnight non-stop fireworks is special only to Madras. It may have stopped now due to silly political intervention but I loved it when it was alive.

Which is what I hate about living outside India(during Deepavali). I don't want to get into the whole topic of living in India Vs Living in the US. I am sure there are gzillion debates on this to fill up terabytes of internet server space. Everybody has made a choice conciously or unconciously to be where they are right now. There is no point in re-investigating the past. However, if the romantics want to talk on the aspects of "I miss India" it is reasonable to conclude that among the things people in India are blessed to celeberate -- Deepavali would chief among them. If I was presumptuous enough to assume that I would someday have a choice - where I could decide which country I wanted to live in -- Deepavali would single handedly sway the decision in favor of India.


Edit: Something that Anush's comment reminded me of. The legiyams (also called deepavali marunthu) is an awesome part of deepavali. I dont know who concocted this legiyam. The kick that you get out of it is awesome. The visit to relative's house (sometimes you visit them after 1 year) - falling on the feet and getting money.

The other thing that came to me was the way we lit the very first sparklers on the day. The sudden trickle and the sound is always exciting. From that until the last bon fire with all the kuppai assembled with 2 atom bombs thrown in is pure excitement. You know there is always at least 1 person who say "kaasu ellam kari". Although my favorite firework from Redfort (56 shell) to 2-sound, I think the big fireworks that go up and make a huge sensation in the sky grows on you as you grow old.

sigh.. I can write about this all year. I'll stop before I ..like.. get really sad. I wish all the visitors a very happy Deepavali. May all your dreams come true.

16 comments:

Arun Kumar said...

Great post Bharath!!! I can't say how much I agree with you... I won't even try :)

Happy Deepavali!!!

Anush said...

I read some of your blogs. "I think and you write exactly the same thing" is what I can say of all your blogs. keep it up...it is very heartening to see somebody exactly echoing your sentiments. Exactly means Exactly! Your deepavali sentiment - I couldn't agree with it more! You're right, if all is equal between U.S. and India, I'd choose India 'cause they celebrate Deepavali over there. And I do get some kick in saying 'DEEPAvali' :) You have made me more nostalgic now...the feeling of being in Pondy bazaar now is something that needs to be experienced. Exchanging sweets and "legiyams", Oh my god....you could indeed give up anything for that. Not to mention the competing programs on different TV channels and the sweet nadaswaram early in the morning :) the smell of burnt crackers and the joy of killing mosquitoes with them. How about the paper trash that fills the whole street - that's the only day I really enjoy being in the middle of all that kuppai. You know placing those left over papers from that already fired lakshmi vedi on top of the atom bomb on a recently rained road surface - need I say more :) Keep writing buddy....great work here.

Arvind said...

Happy Deepavali!
I'm missing home too, last Deepavali there was 1998 and then I didn't even know it would the last one for so many years ahead. Oh well, I'll look forward to whenever I can celebrate Diwali in Madras! :)

Anu said...

Bharath,
Couldn't agree with you more. Its been a really long time since I got to celebrate Deepavali in Madras. But the wonderful memories will always remain fresh in my mind. Like you said, There may be no other place in India that's as 'fireworks crazy' as Madras... and ..the final bonfire is always the best!
Happy Deepavali to one and all!!

~Anu

Hema said...

Hi,

Happy Deepavali. This deepavali instead of mourning over those lovely memories our fantastic Chennai(unfortunately i would say Tiruvanmiyur is the best in this regard...i used to live there!!! hehehe), we gathered a few friends here in London and tried to imitate chennai here. All of us made sure we get silk sarees, went shopping last week, had ganga snanam(thames snanam) in our place after nalangu, ate whole loads of sweets, fired 1/2 of the 500 pounds fire works the whole last night with remaining to burn out today. The only thing that i regret is sitting in front of this office comp, which irritates the hell. Hope these Brit's agree to grant a day off atleast next year. Missing parents and relatives, but a consolation that life moves on and so does people :). So even that was okay.

If any of you happen to live in UK and would like to taste some Khaju Katli, Kalakhand, Therati paal, jaangiri, murukku, mixture and pattanaada, please feel free to drop in to our nice little home :).

Happy Deepavali All :)

Hawkeye: Cheer Up, May your next Deepavali be in Chennai (opp. Pothys ;) )

tilotamma said...

I thought you were too busy even to remember these things........

Paa"ji" said...

Diwali wishes to you

Anonymous said...

Thought you were too busy to even notice that there are other things than your MBA.

tilotamma said...

hain - why does anonymous sound like my echo. It is not me , I swear :-)

I have a midterm this Fri and I am so not thinking of anything else......

Hawkeye said...

tilo, anon,

first week of classes - just back from a (non) vacation.

anyway i think more importantly - Me personally, I am never too busy for thinking (and sulking) about deepavali.

even if tomorrow was some finals i wud have thought about it! And its my first deepavali after marriage :-)

Deepa said...

Hey
Been following ur blog for sometime and love your writing.

Have been fighting to keep off the homesickness on Deepavali day, and now you are making me cry:(

Anyways Happy (Thalai)Deepavali

Anupadmaja said...

Happy Thalai Deepavali Hawkeye and the Mrs. :)

Me said...

happy deepavali.....mmmm...3 yrs aaa no celeb...

jyoey said...

Heyy,
Jst stumbled on your blog.
This post has made me nostalagic.
I miss India too!

Rajini said...

Hello, it was good reading about Deepavali. I'd love to celebrate Deepavali in India and get a true feel of the festival. I live in Malaysia, and it;s nice too. We enjoy a holiday on Deepavali.

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