Monday, October 23, 2006

Deepavali...We were not deprived of it

The day began with a quick shopping at Metro followed by removing of thick greasy dirt on the kitchen floor, which had accumulated as a result of not cleaning it for about a month's time. It was so sticky that had I not disposed it, I could have used to fix my broken staircase railing. Since my place was the venue for evening celebrations, I had to atleast superficially clean it. Then started the Herculean task of shredding the carrots. I would have rather forfeited the halwa, which I was supposed to make than shredding those hard carrots on the grater. Bipin's alibi of wrist ache put the complete burden on my shoulders, quite literally. But since it was as part of our Deepavali celebrations I whole-heartedly and pain-handedly did that.

The method was a mere cooking of the shredded carrots in milk and sugar. Once the milk evaporates, add ghee and saute the mixture. If you're a kind of person who want the food to look beautiful, garnish it with raisins and cashew nuts, slightly fried in ghee.
Sachin's tip: Desiccated coconut powder adds to the bulk, so adding required quantity of this powder could make up shortage of carrots. Use your common sense; don't add 1Kg of this powder for 100grams of carrot. If you have just one carrot, feed it to your rabbit.

The crowd started pouring in at about half past six. My first two guests were beautiful Chinese girls, followed by our team members, who carried along with them the food they had cooked.
Kris and Naidu came with a couple of vegetable curries, followed by Paddu and his wife with chapatis and dommrut (What on earth is this? Replace carrot with pumpkin in the above recipe, you end up making dommrut). Then comes the gigantic Hari with gigantic cracker boxes followed by Pinki and her parents along with the aroma of Pav Baaji. SKG, his wife and two juniors were the last in the guest list.

Celebrations kick started by worshipping the God. Now this is the interesting part, we followed the convention of a Brahmin taking charge of worship and the only err....Brahmin present there was none other than me. So one can imagine how pious our worship was, how satisfied was the Almighty and the amount of blessings we were bestowed with. I recited the two hymns which I remembered "Shuklam baradaram vishnum...." and "Om bur buvah....", randomly moved the incense sticks before the portrait of not sure.... maybe Ayiappah or Shanmuga, for those Gods were left behind by my roommate, he back in India now. Pinki took the responsibility of making the mixture of vermillion and dotting our foreheads. A colorful mixture of carrot halwa and dommrut served as our prasada. Bananas were used for mounting the incense sticks, which were Chinese made and extremely fragile. Srinivas kept playing his mandolin, on my PC, through out the course of our worship. The two Chinese girls were busy clicking photographs for this was something new to them.

Fireworks followed our worship, we assembled next to the tennis court and started off with a 25-shot colorful splashes. We had a constant fear of the apartment authorities stopping us, the experience we had previous year, but that did not happen. Then came the turn of double shots that confused us how to place it on the ground, one of our Chinese friend sorted out this problem for us. We fired a chain of 1000 crackers followed by another 25-shot colorful splash and winded up with a chain of 3000 crackers, the noisiest of all.

It was time to cater for our hungry tummies. We rushed back and started to have epicurean pleasures. Everything tasted sumptuous, albiet highest votes went to Paav Baaji - no wonder for it was prepared by Pinki's mother. Dommrut and carrot halwa received almost equal votes I presume. Dumb charades was the post-dinner entertainment programme, where-in Paddu failed to enact "Pirates of the Caribbean" and sang a Tamil song, in his most inaudible voice. It was already half past nine and SKG wanted to take leave, we thought of dispersing. Bipin left after cleaning a couple of vessels, which was his only contribution.

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