Archive | November, 2016

How we did Diwali 2016

2 Nov

I don’t know why its taken me so long to return to this space. A zillion posts were semi written in drafts and now seem irrelevant to publish as the moments have fleeted by. This post too will probably be irrelevant in a few days if I don’t publish immediately , so here goes!

The Husband and I sadly have not celebrated any Indian festival ‘properly’ in the US in the last 10 years. Yes, this is rather sad but it really didn’t bother me until very recently, I guess now that Bandar is old enough to understand festivals to some extent it makes me want to do something, however small for her. So Diwali this year goes down in the family history books as the first Diwali we really, actually did the right way – or rather our way.

To start with we were in our new house this year .Though I have felt every apartment and rental property we have lived in so far was home – from my tiny 1 bedroom in Austin that the Husband moved into to be with me, with bag and baggage and his many boxes a few weeks after we were married , to our 5th floor Upper Westside NYC walk up of 2013 -2015 fame, being in your own house with pretty much every single thing you own in it and knowing you hopefully don’t need to move for a while , gave us some sort of added impetus to celebrate. In other words, this unexplainable home-love gave us a bit of a push on our rear ends to really spruce up our abode for Diwali.

Also my parents are here for a short 2.5 week visit and just the thought of Diwali at home with them after years , filled me with a delicious warmth for several weeks prior and I intended to make this Diwali memorable for all of us.

On top of all this , Diwali this year conveniently fell on a weekend – so really I was out of excuses to not celebrate .

My mom suggested we invite some friends over and so though we had Diwali party invites for Saturday and Sunday, we ended up hosting a small get together on Friday evening.

So Thursday evening was spent in the whole family pitching in to get the house party ready. The husband out did himself in stringing up lights – front , back, and inside. Oh and the best part was he did this with the least nagging and actually quite fast by his regular standards.(Now I only have to nag for him to take them out before our HOA bozos send us a written warning like they did for Christmas lights that we had on till mid Jan) .My mom started the endless process of reducing milk to make Strawberry Basundi and the end result was well worth it. I then had a fun one hour with my equally artistically challenged mom putting together  a semblance of a rangoli in our foyer. To make you understand why this particular feat is quite unbelievable , here’s a little bit you should know about us:  My mom and I are as impatient as they come –  we believe a job done fast is a job done well , we cannot draw to save our lives – our cats look like ducks and our ducks look like chairs (true story from family pictionary night) , we are both more than a tad opinionated and  we bond mainly over gossip – almost always over people we both know and dislike . So this rangoli bonding hour is forever etched in my mommy -daughter mental memory box as a special moment. My dad cleaned and tidied and sampled all the snacks that had been purchased and/or made and signed off on them for human consumption. Bandar danced, pranced, gave her strong opinion ( the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) on every aspect of the prep. So a truly enjoyable evening.

Friday evening was less enjoyable as I came back from work and stressed out when I realized I had a mountain of prep to do before the guests arrived. But it all got done miraculously. The guests arrived and the party was began in full swing. The conversation flowed, my mom’s appetizers were delish and a deep fried treat that we usually never indulge in, the girls were all  around the same age and got along well, our youngest guest was 6 months old and he provided the perfect entertainment for the grandparents, the food was plentiful and delectable, we had sparklers for this girls and this night should have been deemed a success unanimously . However , I suspect a few guests felt differently,  mainly because we made a decision to not serve alcohol.

Side note on alcohol – The Husband and I are not big drinkers ourselves but do serve alcohol when we deem it the right situation. New Year parties  – yes, Summer Grilling party – yes, Child Birthday party – no (though I broke out the wine right at the end of Bandar’s party this year for one of the guests – the same guests who were a tad pissed that there was no alcohol at the Diwali party), Diwali party – no. I know, alcohol an diwali should be synonymous , but we decided against it for whatever reason and stuck to our decision.End of side note.

Anyway, the best part of growing older is now at 31, I own my point of view and care very little about what others really think. I know fully well that one couple in particular was a little pissed being denied their wine, but I make no apologies for my views on the subject and I am barely bothered by their frustration. At 25 or even at 28, I would have apologized profusely or brooded for days about not having all the guests leave completely satisfied.

So that was Friday. Saturday was spent deep cleaning – well , my cleaning lady did that and I simply cleaned superficially before she got in.We attended another party on Saturday, hosted by one of the guest who came to ours. And there was alcohol – which the other couple who missed at ours got their fill of and all was well with the world. The girls, 3 of whom were meeting for the second time that weekend started getting on each others nerves a tad , but everyone lived and a good time was had.

Sunday morning found us getting ready for a our last party of the weekend – a lunch one this time. The host had insisted that the women wear saris and though I was a little pissed with a rigid dress code (what’s with that??) , I somehow managed to get mine looking okay in the first attempt. Of course, YouTube helped, and the husband who’s support I always need as I work on sari draping was in a good mood and this helped too.The last sari draping attempt/ fiasco for Navratri had happened when he was in a sleepy , rude and unsupportive mood and it ended with us at the Navratri celebration as follows – me sulking  in a salwar kameez but atleast fully attired, Bandar without her underwear and the husband without his footwear! So the husband’s good mood and support, albeit moral for sari tying is extremely critical in this household.

We hardly knew anybody except the hosts at this party and we struggled to make connections and enter conversations. Also by this time we were a little Diwalied out and the food though yummy seemed a little too heavy and I barely tasted everything.Anyway, Bandar had a blast with her friends – yes, we got invited and knew the hosts as they were Bandar’s friends first, and that really is the most important thing.

We went home tired but happy and packed up the weekend, grateful for the friendships we had formed in the last year of our lives in this new to us city. So that was our Diwali weekend. How was yours? Do share.