I *heart* Bombay (and well..Boston)

I'm urban..in the way other people are mountain-people or tunafish junkies. I love city life...something about dreary concrete blocks and grumpy people totally gets my juices flowing. Ergo, this will be a blog about me, my two favourite cities (Bombay and Boston), my addiction to Vietnamese coffee and my views on Gregorian chant and it's efficacy in curing some types of tympannic membrane rupture. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Happy Diwali (belch! groan!)



Well, I suppose I should have made this post a few days ago while it was still Diwali but it's been wicked hectic chez moi this festival season..First of; Happy Diwali all...(insert chessy greeting here). Hope you had a fun festival of lights...I suppose I'm still in time to wish y'all Eid Mubarak though. Woohoo! So I got one festival right!

What does one really do on Diwali besides eat? And visit people? And burst fire crackers and wake up the dead? Pray? OK, not pray...Diwali is the hedonists festival after all...all night gambling binges, eating till you're fit to burst, setting off small fires. And the best part is, ask 10 people why we celebrate Diwali and get 10 different answers....So here's how I celebrate Diwali.

Woke up before dawn on Naraka Chaturdashi (the first day of Diwali). Amma massaged my head with some warm coconut oil...when we were younger, we'd get the full body oil treatment! The lady of the house (in this case Amma) massages everyone's head with oil and heats up the water for a pre-dawn bath. The water is supposed to have been collected the night before. The origins of this ritual are to describe how Lord Krishna's wives treated him after he came back at dawn bloody and bruised from battling Narakasura all night. After you bathe in steaming hot water with sandalwood soap (which feels so good early in the morning), as you step out of the bathroom, you crush a bitter fruit with your right foot (This symbolizes Krishna's crushing of Naraka). And then, it's time for the fireworks! Well, since I'm kind and don't wanna annoy my neighbours before dawn, I only light sparklers while Amma goes about lighting all the lamps in the house. The night before, all the lamps are lit and you leave a window open so that Lakshmi - the Goddess of Wealth feels welcome into your house. How very deliciously pagan!

And then one eats. Like there's no tommorrow. The closest thing I find to the Diwali bacchanalia (NOT "The love for Amitabh and Abhishek" but "A riotous, boisterous, or drunken festivity; a revel"), is the American Thanksgiving where you sit around stuffing your face all day and then passing out from eating too much food later in the evening. Chaklis, karanjis, laddoos, tukdi, banana chips, pedhas, kaju katri, chivda, kheer...the list is endless. Amma, like many other moms, spent all week cooking these up...of course, half of them disappeared in the days before Diwali (Midnight snacks...).

Visiting neighbours and family all day and eating everything they set in front of you seems like fun when you think about it; but in reality? Groan! I was so full of food I couldn't even fit into a pair of jeans (which seems to be the story of my life..the winter fattening has begun!). And surprise surprise! I find out that the Diwali we celebrate involves eating fish for lunch! And here I thought like other Hindus we don't eat non-vegetarian food on festivals..but no! Woohoo! I pigged out on pomfret curry and fried surmai. My two favourite fishy eats..I love fish so much. Must be the Konkani genes in me!

Anyway, I hope everyone had a happy festival season. Now it's onto Christmas and more pigging out (Thank you Bandra neighbour aunties!). Full speed ahoy!

Current Music:
Kidda - Natacha Atlas

I love the orgasmic sounds Natacha makes in this song. Most entertaining..

13 Comments:

  • At 12:40 AM, Blogger Archster said…

    Your picture of the fire cracker exploding momentarily confused me :)

    I ate so much i barely fit into my work clothes. rather uncomfortable.

     
  • At 1:09 AM, Blogger Vijayeta said…

    Now i'm missing home :( On Diwali i didnt...

     
  • At 1:13 AM, Blogger F-cubed said…

    Hey I think I suffer from Bacchanalia- Minoris. I would say I need to go and see the Doctor.

    Can anyone give me the contact number for that Angel in White from Salaam Namaste

    Viraf

    PS Do you think he would make house calls?

     
  • At 3:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Did you know that it is actually Kaju Katli? I got to know this very recently but somehow still keep calling it Kaju Katri.

    Sanjay

     
  • At 3:53 AM, Blogger Sabri Hakim said…

    Happy Diwali, does that mean happy Eid, if so happy eid, if not then Happy Diwali. nice blog you have, you speak 7 languages thats amazing but how come most of the favorite books youve read are in english?

     
  • At 3:58 AM, Blogger Vikster said…

    Archie: My stomach did indeed want to explode like displayed firecracker. I could barely move..

    Vij: That's not what you said as you were passing me the joint!

    Fcubed: I have the junior bachhanitis as well...I've had the doctor saheb walla dream as well. Only in mine we both end up dancing to Kajra re instead of doing the nasty.

    Sanjay: I'm sticking with katri...Katli sounds too...umm...err...(Fellow Bombayites will know)

    Sabri: Thanks! Eid Mubarak to you as well..I speak 7 languages..but English is the one I communicate in best. Ergo, most of my reading and writing is in English.

    (*deletes cheesy line about love being the 8th language I speak*)

     
  • At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I should have added the T in Katli is a soft T.

    Sanjay

     
  • At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ahh.. food.. I worked all week but I'm going to go to Surendramam's place over the weekend so I'll pig out soon too. Happy diwali!

    Priya

     
  • At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You said you are a Konkani. Are you a Chitrapur Saraswat (common surnames: Mundkur, Nadkarni, Benegal, Nalcoor)or Gaud Saraswat Brahmin (common surnames: Prabhu, Naik)

    Rahul Mundkur

     
  • At 10:16 AM, Blogger karuna said…

    Woow.. that seems liek such a nice Diwali with all teh rituals.
    Coming for a very unintelligable family, all i do is bum around and yes the eating, primarily chocolates and dry fruits delivered day after day. Yay :)

     
  • At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks Vik ;)

     
  • At 5:24 PM, Blogger F-cubed said…

    You young guys wanting to Kajrare are soooo predictable its annoying.

    For me I prefer the oldtime classic "Husn ke laakhon rang" from Johnny mera naam.

    Just as I guess if you guys had to choose an English track you would probably go for 50 Cents "Candy Sop" while the more discerning individual (like mua) would opt for the Sinbad classic "Shut up and Sleep with me"

     
  • At 4:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nice pic. I guess it must be the slow shutter mode.

    Kaustubh.

     

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