I think everyone loves festivals. I mean what's not to love? How often can you gorge on food that is absolutely BAD for you and not have to justify it, slack off on exercise without being judged, sleep in, and party till late into the night without having to worry about work the next day? Festivals come around only a few times in a year so I think its best to make the most of these chances, no?
I have to confess that I'm a Christmas kinda girl... it is my absolute favorite festival. Our place is known for the rocking X'mas party we throw every year and I'm NOT ASHAMED to admit that I start planning it around October. My husband is from Kerala, so we also celebrate Vishu and Onam, but although they are special in their own way, they are quite somber and sedate in comparison to the spectacle that is Christmas.
Diwali also falls into the category of big, bold & loud- a festival of generosity & giving, so much like Christmas. But up until this year we never really did anything in a big way. This year I thought why not? Let's start a new tradition at home, and celebrate this festival of lights, that rejoices in the victory of good over evil, light over darkness. It happens to be my sis-in-law's favorite festival, so I thought, 'lets make it special!' And how we did!
We decorated, and there were traditional clay diyas (lamps), string lights hanging from every possible place, tea lights, floating flowers, rangolis- the whole shebang!
(My precious blackboard all lit up & my not so precious 'artwork')
(The view of our building complex from our balcony which we lit with traditional clay diyas)
(Rangoli at the entrance of our home)
(Finally got a chance to light the hanging brass lamps that were a gift from my in-laws)
(Our dining area credenza all decked up in candlelight)
We ate, and ate & ATE! some absolutely awesome chole & bhature made by our friend Neha, who I think makes the best chole in the world. There was also authentic Mumbai vada pav, made by yours truly, and some cupcakes & gulab jamuns. Boy were we stuffed by the end of the night!
But aside from the food & the gifts and the sheer bling of it all, I think what makes festivals so special are friends and family. At least that's why I love festivals. Its having friends over, sharing good food & drink, and catching up on each other's lives. I think that at the heart of every festival the world over, lie two things- love & laughter, and that, more that all the other craziness, is what makes festivals so wonderful.
I hope that all of you had an absolutely awesome Diwali surrounded by family & friends. And I'm sure if you're anything like me, you are already looking ahead to Christmas & the New Year and all the fun that comes with it.
[All images- Ujwala Menon]