Hammer in hand, a little 8 year old sits in her balcony on a rainy Diwali morning bursting the inane pottu pattasu of the previous year . It can be weird like that you know. It used to rain on some Diwali mornings. It can be boring when it rains on Diwali. Even more boring if you have pattasu from the previous year that fails to ignite. And this rainy diwali has etched itself on my grey cells for many years now. It was a diwali that didn’t exist for us. Born in a TamBrahm family meant every few years not celebrating at all – what with distant cousins of the father, grand fathers, kollu pattis and thathas passing away. And what is smirk worthy is that you only mourn when a distant cousin from the fathers side passes away . Technically speaking you could even go ahead and marry even if a close grand parent from the mothers side passes away. oh well that’s a discussion worthy of another post altogether. Lets get back to the ganga snaanam business
As kids, we felt very disappointed with such Diwalis – we missed the badushas amma made, the pattasu that was so carefully bought so as not to surpass the budget or the only other occasion other than a birthday when we got new clothes.
So passing away of a distant aunt or a thatha meant no diwali – no badushas, no hoopla surrounding the diwali galatta.
This Diwali reminds me of that diwali in Neyveli, where I sat bursting the previous years crackers. The father in law who was very very dear to us passed away. We have been ingraining no diwali into the head of the 4 year old . When I was pleased when he said ” No diwali for us. because thatha became a foto” , I thought the boy has come of age, mature and all that
But the things on this side of town has been so tempting – what with lanterns, bullet pattasu and all that. The boy wanted everything – from colors to lighting to pattasu. First I got home the bullet pattasu , hoping it will satisfy the pattasu cravings.But alas , when I cannot resist the inane purchases I do on jabong, how can I resist pattasu temptation from a 4 year old
Off I went, him and me in an auto to the nearest pattasu store and got back home shanku chakkara and flower pots and many sparklers, and me muttering under the breath – please forgive us thatha !
On the way back home, holding a huge pattasu agarbati, the boy proclaimed – I am liking it amma . and also mouthed – battameez dil and a mini jig to match it , all on the road . . The boring curd rice too was devoured with much gusto, because we were waiting eagerly to do pattasu post dinner.
So we have been having a diwali – bursting crackers , squealing in delight, happy with all the pattasu kuppai (cracker mess). In the Tamil world, your happiness quotient during diwali is directly proportional to the kuppai you manage to accumulate.
… what I intended to finally say was that amidst death, amidst mournings and amidst remembering the father in law when you have a satisfactory meal, you revel in the happiness that children bring in , what with their quirly dialogues and all . . “Every body is doing diwali, because their thatha didn’t die” ..
… What you give to your children are memories. worthy of a lifetime. Of squeals, of laughter, of bathameez dil and dialogues such as “I am liking it amma”
So laugh, have fun, enjoy the long weekend minus the status calls and emails, have fun family moments, eat food – Kya pata. Kal Ho na ho
But in all that remember your loved ones – remember them in the arachu viitta sambar and remember them in the beans poriyal that you cook for lunch . mourning happens . Every day. In the meal you cook, to the curd rice you lick off the plate . and sighing ” Thata used to lick his hands off the plate like that “.
Thata – you are missed dearly!