Mama, what is Deepavali ?
It was the first question I heard this morning, when I wished my kids Happy deepavali. I tried to explain to them what is Deepavali. I couldn’t explain the essence of Deepavali to my kids, because to me Deepavali is being a Malaysian.

It is to wake up early in the morning, bath, wear new skirt and blouse and rush to Letchumi’s house and wish them Happy Deepavali and eat my breakfast of sweet rice, kesari bhath and ofcourse steal a bit of freshly made ghee urundai, the moment patti( grandmother) turns her head and talk to the visitors!

This followed by playing tag with all the kids in the neighbourhood, often bumping in to the stream of visitors, wishing them happy deepavali, helping to carry their gifts to the bedroom( in between shaking it to see, what could be inside!). My duties included, serving drinks to the visitors, filling up the murukku bowl and clearing away the used drinking glasses. When my parents come to Letchumi’s house to wish them happy deepavali, I serve them drinks and Murukku as well!.
In the evening, I would help Letchumi to light the diyas and place it all around the house. After the diyas are lit, All the kids sit outside next to the patti( grandmother) and she would tell us the stories about how goodness always win in the end. As the sun set, the diyas would illuminate the 2 bedroom single story house. It is a magical moment, until an hour ago, the house was the same like every other house in the street, walls unpainted, floor cracked, but with the diyas all around, it gets transformed in to a beautiful palace. You don’t see the cracked walls, You see a beautiful happy house. The happiness and the peace of those moments when you are with people you love is what Deepavali is all about.. It is a time to be happy, time to share, time to know that there is goodness, everywhere..
And as a Malaysian Indian, Deepavali will always be celebrated at my house, to remember those good old days and to remind my children that we will always be Malaysians, that we are fortunate to be Malaysians and can celebrate Onam, Deepavali, Hari raya, Christmas,Harvest festival and Chinese New year!, and that beyond our racial lines lay our identity.

Happy Deepavali to all of you

The photo is from www.nandyala.org. Indira’s husband Vijay took the picture last year.

15 thoughts on “Celebrating

  1. Hi,
    You have put in a nutshell what Deepavali is all about and what Deepavali should be… What else can one say other than
    May the new Year bring you loads of happiness, health and prosperity and more power to the Blog!

  2. happy diwali…..hope u had an amazin diwali….. over te past 2 days…. i ve been browsin through te pages of ur blogs……and iam really impressed,….

    well i feel a sense a belonging,…a feeling tht i ve known you for a really long time……

    i dint comment coz i felt small and stupid…..

    and ofcourse i must add that your blog is te most impressive one ive cum acros 2 date..

    love you loads

  3. God I can’t believe it! I’m addicted to your blog. On a Sunday morning, instead of sleeping, I’m browsing all those old postings and the new ones to ensure that I have not missed anything. This blog is forcing me to use the laptop, which I hate to use. Broadband is not working yet I’m posting this comment at the cost of my landline.
    I can use my name to post a comment. But I don’t want to do that. It hardly makes any difference. Yesterday was Deepavali. While you were trying to explain the spirit of a festival, I was busy spending that rare holiday on a 300 km (to and fro) trip. But I don’t want to miss your writings as they are so good and unlike some other blogs, I can feel the sincereity and honesty the writer here. Moreover I can identify with everything.

  4. happy diwali to you sarah 🙂

    i am still waiting for the book..i hope i am among the first people to get a signed copy..will send you my address when you are about to get it published.

  5. Happy Diwali Sarah
    Am lighting lamps or candles,whichever i procure first,tomorrow.
    It’s so true about how any house looks beautiful when lits with the diyas
    it really seems to dispel away all the gloom and gives some kind of inner calm and peace
    i can’t explain it.it’s just so

  6. Ah but shes as malaysian as one can get 😉

    one of the best things about being malaysian is knowing n sharing different cultures – and believe me its a joy 😉

    Happy deepavali and selamat hari raya 😉

  7. hi sarah..
    when i reads this i feel i have known u for ages…dunno if its cos i am from kottayam, …same church …cms college …bcm college… almost same experiences in life and lots more…
    cheers to u

  8. Madhavan Kutty: Thank you

    Vidya:”i dint comment coz i felt small and stupid..” Don’t ever call yourself stupid.. You are as good as anyone else..

    Anon: When I read your comment.. I was trying to see, what do I write in response? I don’t know what to say.. so here is a simple Terima Kasih from the bottom of my heart..

    Mindcurry: Thank you.. ethu vivaradoshi would want to publish this eh??

    Techno: There in lies my confusion.. What am I?

    Chandu: Sukham anennu arinjathil santhosham!

    maya: Deepavali is such a beautiful period

    Jac: Thank you Jac

    Toothless: That is soooooo true

    Visithra: I miss Malaysia..

    Bonnie: Are you the one who was studying CA?

    Hillgrandmom: Thank you

    Thanu: Yes, I did.. We had a good time..lit diyas all around the house, made ghee rice with kuruma, made halwa, kesari bhath, murukku and mixture!

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