It is Dhanteras again, and the festival has begun. You cannot fight the little excitement that comes with the slight chill in the air. Like your best friend pinching you on the day you wear a new dress. The sparkles in your eyes could light up the sky. You hug yourself, staving off the cold and it reminds you of the many times you will be hugged and blessed in the next five days.
Only a ridiculously organised person would find themselves ready for Dhanteras. The house spick and span, new artefacts in place, fresh sheets everywhere, nut bowls filled and placed strategically, the snacks and drinks on standby. The card party season started a while ago, but now the non stop indulgence begins. Celebrating plenty, grateful for what we have, we celebrate the harvest that has been sold and accounts closed. The accounts totted up, bonuses paid out. We celebrate in thanks to the gods and goddesses that made it happen. We celebrate ourselves, let our hair down a bit, laugh a lot and let go a bit.
All that really takes organisation, I’ll admit. To have all the gifts ready and delivered, to have the baksheesh envelopes ready, to have the mithai boxes listed and handed out, to have the lights glimmering, the flower curtains waving in the breeze…(And let’s not tell anyone about the spoons counted, the cups ready in trays, the glasses sorted and ready in strategic corners, the bodas/vadas half fried in the fridge and the chutney cubes in the freezer). (If we are being posh – the canapés and their fillings satisfactorily filling a whole shelf of the fridge in tiny little plastic boxes – let’s not tell anyone about that too). (Did we need more ice?.. I’m sure we’ll be fine…its not so hot anymore…)
Swish on the glittery garments, bring on the bling! It’s time for us to make it happen and swing. Smile, swig, slug, sip, nibble. Share. Reach out. Shine on, you crazy diamond. It’s Diwali!
(I write this as the mundane tasks remain. I have run the inventories, gaps identified, purchases ordered – we are ready for the season of hosting and visiting. The house is clean, but needs rearranging. I have my rust and dull gold silk spreads ready. The jewel coloured raw silk covers for the white sofas too. the lights are being put up. My girl will bring the marigold strings tomorrow – they last two days. I wait for the suji, oil, sugar and maida to be delivered so that the massive home cooking drive can start tomorrow. Should the laddoos be suji or besan? The maida and ajwain are for the matthis. I’ve never had a Diwali without matthis. Namak Pare, certainly. And some murukku if I can get my head around it. Besan barfi has been delivered, so I’ll make suji laddoo. And khoa and coconut will do well for little naardus and barfi. Should I make a chocolate barfi too? That’s just another ten minutes and the khoa has arrived. I wait, spring coiled, ready to release the mother who claims her own space in giving, sharing out the smiles.)