Image courtesy-. Konkani Speaks
Come diwali and life becomes hectic like a whirlwind romance. The heart pumps up to make way for goddess lakshmi’s arrival. The cleaning, dusting and all the sundry work associated with this festival of lights works through the bones of a housewife.
Inspite of all that stress, this festival brings joy and happiness in abundance. The whole family is together and the camaraderie that follows is indescribable.
My best memory about this festival goes back eons ago when life was a happy jolly ride. It transports me back to my carefree ways in my lovely village Cortalim in Goa. A tiny village full of beauty imprinted on its very soul. We used to have diwali vacations after the half-yearly exams. As it was a vacation time I used to celebrate the diwali festival at my grandparents house.
The preparation for diwali used to start a week before. I and my cousins prepared the diwali lamps at home with color papers. glue and bamboo and different designs to decorate the lamp. On diwali day we youngsters woke up early in the morning to start the celebrations. We kids were lined up by our grandmother and given a sound oil massage and later followed by a hot water bath. The first thing we had to eat was a few seeds of bitter gherkin. It is considered auspicious to start the day with bitterness so that we can relish the sweets later. In Goa we prepare a good many dishes with flat rice. Flat rice becomes the main ingredient in the preparation of sweets and namkeens. Not only flat rice, ragi is also used to make vermicelli. Flat rice mixed with grated coconut and fresh jiggery, flat rice in a bowl of coconut milk, flat rice with boiled potatoes seasoned with onions,curry leaves, green chillies and mustard seeds. The most tasteful flat rice is prepared from boiled rice which was grounded in the local flour mills. Not just a little but one or two gunny bags of flat rice! How we waited eagerly for the feast! My favourite were always the sweet dishes as I have a sweet tooth: D
Another wonderful tradition which is followed in Goa, is visiting our neighbours on this day. We kids used to carry a polythene cover while making these visits. The time we reached home from all that wandering our bags were full of all the goodies which were served by our neighbours. And for us kids it was a real fun to find our bags full: D
In Goa in some areas painting and terracotta exhibitions are held during this festival. It is called Chitrakari. Once I got an opportunity to go and watch this magical display at my aunt’s place in Colvale in north Goa. Beautiful paintings, arts and sculptures were on display. We had to ferry across on a tiny island to be part of this amazing display.
What I like the most about this festival is lack of environment pollution.You might be wondering how is that possible during diwali. Well it is possible in Goa.We don’t burst crackers during this festival. Only light lamps and worship goddess Lakshmi devotedly.
Life gets more hectic once we cross that stage of childhood bliss. Now, diwali is more of a routine with family. Before it was an occasion we used to wait eagerly due to the joint family system. With nuclear families it has lost its zing.
I know life has become more practical now. But sometimes wishes floods the gates of nostalgia without any warning.