Sunday, November 11, 2007

Diwali Notes

There are few times when life gives you a breather, when you can look back at your life as you walk and drop quietly into an uncovered manhole in the process. For me, these three days away from office have been just that – A time to break away from the shampoo sales, reflect on the direction my life is heading in (Which, I discovered, may be heading right into a smelly pile of cow dung), and in a rather unusual moment, grab a ‘pooja ki thali’ so hot, my fingers still smolder like the venue of a fresh nuclear test.

And , of course , celebrate Diwali , the biggest festival of North India . It may leave the street dogs terrified. It may make people blow up crackers which cost half the entire GDP of Botswana . It may have burned down Mrs Chopra’s garden , as it did the year before last . But then, an year without Diwali is like a three feet deep bungee jump . Safe but no fun.

You know Diwali is around the corner when all the ladies in the colony arrange themselves in pairs and start discussing how to please the ‘kaamwali’ this year.

A typical conversation between ma and Mrs Kapoor , our neighbour , a day before Diwali..

Ma : Aapne soch liya ?
Kapoor : Main to soch rahee hoon aadhi kilo milkcake aur ek saaree theek rehegi . Kyun ?
Ma : Cotton ?
Kapoor : Haan .
Ma : Ab , aap dekh lo . Pichle saal Mrs Malhotra ne cotton saree dee thee shobha ko ..agle din hee bhaag gayi thee unka bone china collection chori kar ke..
Kapoor : Accha ? ! Chalo theek hai , silk kee le deti hoon ….milkcake to theek rahega na ?
Ma : Haan Haan , fresh hoga na ?
Kapoor : Bilkul ! Rohit ke papa personally jaakar maamlo mein I can not take a risk na !
Ma : Bass fir chinta kee baat nahi . Chalo abhi main jaati hoon , pata chale ki Mrs Chopra ne kya diya hai to batana ..


The exchanging of sweets with friends and relatives is another domain which calls upon the recycling resources only a woman can possess- Chopra Ji gets the ‘burfi’ given by Gupta saab. The kurkure gift pack from Chopras finds a place in Kumar Uncle’s house. Junejas are the lucky recipients of ‘something’ we got from the Sharmas – did not open up the pack , so don’t know what. But a logical thinking mechanism is indispensable here.If possible , a diagrammatic representation should be used here. Because one little lapse of concentration can be very hard to accept for the Kapoors who ended up getting a ten pack set of Real Juices from us , which they had gifted to the Kumars .

Also , firecrackers are an integral part of Diwali . It’s all good , unless your Chachaji’s daughter burns the corner of her skirt during Diwali 2005 and your mother takes it too seriously.

Not withstanding my mother’s views on the world destroying capability of fire crackers , and in a stance very much in conflict with my age ( I was referred to as ‘Abhi Uncle’ by the seven year old kid of the Yadavs when they visited us two days back . Saale Yadav , apni aulaad ko control kar !) , I decided to get firecrackers this diwali.

A day before diwali , I walked upto my mother as she stood in the kitchen , and in a tone generally reserved for declaration of independence and such historical moments , declared – “Ma , Iss baar patakhe laaunga.”

Ma- "Chup Reh ! Yaad nahi do saal pehle Chinky ke saath kyun hua tha ! Bechari jal hee gayi thee almost ! Chup Reh !"

Me- "Ma ! Uski skirt ka corner jala tha !"

Ma- "Chup Reh !"

Two words which kill off any scope for negotiations, pleading or begging. Especially if they come from a lady who has three types of kitchen knives within her reach. The permission was gained only when I promised to wear one of those inflatable dresses members of bomb defusing squads wear, keep at least four buckets of water placed next to the site , not fire a single rocket which is not perpendicular to the ground and to get married to a girl of her choice.

Note - I have no idea why the second rocket I fired this Diwali changed direction as soon as it left the bottle and zoomed downwards to end it’s eventful journey with a sharp thwack on the windshield on Mr Khosla’s car.. I think Khosla should look at it with a positive outlook – I mean , it could have hit his seventy three year old father . Ask Mr Sharma. Unke papa ne mere fourth rocket ka kya bigaada thaa..


The ‘Aarti’ is a rather noisy affair at our home , with the collective prayer singing led by my father , who considers himself just a shade higher than Mohammed Rafi during his crooning of ‘om jai jagdish’ . My mother , who sits besides him , tries to keep out his booming call to the gods out of her ears and my sister keeps busy trying to keep the prasad out of my reach till the aarti ends. This year too , everything was regular , until I decided to pick up the ‘aarti ki thali’ placed neatly before the idols , shimmering diyas and all . Not realising that it is slightly hotter than sun , I reached for the plate and grabbed its edge with my right hand . My sister is having trouble hearing since then . It is her fault she was sitting so close when I yelled ‘Aaowww’.

Gambhir just rammed hard into Afridi and there are some sharp words flying out there !! Gotta go watch this . Pakistan ki @%# !