Diwali for us is a three days affair, and all three days we used to spend playing with the firecrackers, eating snacks and again firecrackers. I remember till few years back, there used to be so much firecrackers being busted. But this year it was relatively much calm.
When I started writing about the Deepavali rituals that happens at home, I was bombarded with so many memories just flying in and out at random, that I was finding it extremely difficult to hold to all of them and write on them. I didn't want to forget the past but somehow looks like they just vanished with time. Past few years I haven't been observing any festivals with much ado, just for the reason that life has become so hectic and any holiday becomes more hectic because I end up spending most of the time in kitchen. I love cooking to abstraction but still festival cooking tends to jar on your senses. Amma is very pious and religious. Dad, on the other hand, is God fearing but believes that one need not go to temple to worship. He is of the belief that you can pray where you are. But he likes to keep peace at home, so abides to what Amma does. So Deepavali comes with a band of things we need to do. Amma starts the Deepavali savories and sweets preparation well in advance. And on the Deepavali day, she used to get busy with the day's preparation.
We don't have relatives living nearby, so all the goodies get distributed to the friends and neighbours. As kids I remember our festival attires were so important. Dad detests shopping, so we used to complete our Diwali shopping a month ahead. On the Diwali eve, as I said, my brother and I ensure we get up early, get bathed in oil and wear our new cloths and pray to God with the firecrackers kept for the puja. As kids, we used to fight about who lights the 100 walas, but since we rarely fight, I used to ask my brother to light them. As we grew older, he used to ask me to do the honours. We used to be the first to awaken the entire colony. I remember the cool winter breeze blowing by and it used to be quite foggy. I used to love the cool breeze and the early morning dew falling down. The atmosphere used to be filled with sweet smell of cool air with moist touched sand. We used to get loads of bombs and the special Udubatties which used to be a long one, to light the bombs. By the way, I call my bro Sree or when mood strikes Annai. But mostly as Sree and Amma calls him Kanthu. I guess we are the only two people who specially call him by these or atleast I prefer to think so. I guess I haven't really talked much about my bro, I really wondered why. Because he was the person who has always being my guinea pig in my early experiments with cooking. He is a wonderful person, very reserved, you can't really believe how much. He was at home till his schooling, graduation and post graduations were all at different places. So he used to come home for Diwali holidays. Since he was mostly so quite and kept to himself, Deepavali was the time we used to spend together. And I guess this was the reason why it used to be always so special to me.
As kids, once the first 100 wala is out, we go ahead with the other lakshmi vedi and suri and loads of other stuffs. Few times, we had the train and few other strange and interesting crackers too. The entire day would just go on and on with bursting crackers. At about 8.30 or so, Amma would call us for breakfast. She would've prepared either chicken pulusu or mutton pulusu with Dosa. It used to be so wonderful! Then after I stopped non-veg, she had to prepare something for me separate. So I used to ask her to make just Groundnut chutney. I can't understand why, but this is something we eat everyday, still this used to be so special. I have never attempted to prefect the Groundnut chutney that amma makes. Infact I haven't tasted one that good made by anybody else. So for this Diwali breakfast we had Dosa with Groundnut chutney and coconut Chutney along with our favorite Erra karam with pappula podi. Pappula podi is fried gram flour which is sprinkled over the dosa.
You can wonder how a regular Dosa be special, it is for me because Amma makes it specially for me for the Diwali breakfast and this time my sils prepared this variation which is the first time I am having.
Since this was our first long stay at their place, my sils ensured they charm us with their culinary expertise. I must say they excelled themselves.
This was our second day lunch, pulihora with biyam vadiyallu, Gogura pappu, pepper rasam. with rice and yogurt.
Will be back tomorrow with rest of the festival details and what we had for the third day.