Earthen Diya memories

I had first read the post on Magh mela on Arti’s blog, when I was looking to become a virtual pilgrim. I was immediately hooked to the way she took the reader on the trip along with her. But it was with her posts on the various avatars of the Ganga that I became her devoted follower — we both share the reverence and awe of the divine river.  Her innate spirituality comes through in her posts, making them even more engrossing. This is not to say that she only writes on pilgrim destinations. Her posts on her trips to Japan and other places are equally enthralling.

Her posts are comprehensive with every detail that a traveler would want to have – places to stay, where to eat, what to see, how to get there…When I met her last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find a young girl and not a middle-aged woman I had always thought her be! Arti blogs at My Yatra Diary.

In this guest post — one of her rare personal ones — my young friend takes a walk down memory lane to the Diwali of her childhood, illuminated by the glow of the diya.  Read on…..

******

 

The Arti of the big Diwali night has just concluded and the night air outside is rent with noises. But inside the silent confines of my home, there is a divine calm as the big diya exudes its light. I am staring at the flickering flame; this diya has to glow all night. ‘Divine’ I say, because in its radiance I can hear voices that have a deep resonance and unlock many a door of memories in the corridors of my heart…

Ah, the voices!

 

Dadaji, look I have finished washing the diyas!

Very good, now take them carefully and hand them over to your dadi in the rasoi.

 

……I had been seven, maybe eight then. The entire family would come together during Diwali, for the festivities at my grandparents’ house. Everyone had his or her job cut out, whether it was dadiji writing out a list of ingredients for the rasoi, aunts bringing out huge cauldrons from their kitchen shelves and uncles running around to get their crisp cotton kurtas readied for the day. Amidst all this hullabaloo, I was assigned a job too — of washing the earthen diyas!  It made me feel very important.

Arti, will you wash the diyas for me?

Yes Dadaji, sure I will!

 A day before Badi Diwali, I would excitedly run down to my grandpa’s house, a storey below ours, to find a small bucket of water, a steel plate full of diyas and an empty plate to hold them after washing — waiting for me. One by one, I would pick them up, soak them in the water and gently stroke them clean. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was not a job — it was pure fun! I watched in fascination as the water changed color as did my fingers. The entire activity induced an odd sense of contentment. I felt good to be trusted with a job that felt very important to me, to be part of the preparations that the elders were busy with. Perhaps that’s what inspired the festive spirit in me then. At the end of it all, the bucket would be half empty with water splashed all around and there would be wet patches on my frock, but my gaze would be fixed on the plate loaded with the clean, damp diyas carefully arranged by me in neat stacks of three. Not a droplet of water in it — the plate would be a clear mirror. In it, I could almost taste the earthy smell of the diyas and my hard work — cool, crisp and light.


Dadaji, I have given all the diyas a nice bath.

They are now ready for tomorrow’s puja.

 

Arre waah, bahut hoshiyar hai meri poti toh.

(Wonderful! How clever my granddaughter is!)

His loving words, his effervescent smile and his compliments meant the world to me. Such was the glow of accomplishment; such was the magnitude of the pride I felt in my job, that I couldn’t wait for the next day to dawn.

The following day would start off with me wearing a new dress — simple yet special because I knew this was the only one that I would be getting till the next year – on Diwali. The air would be fragrant with vapors from the huge kadais where the boondis made of gram flour were being fried in ghee for the laddoos; and from the big cauldron of the special Diwali kheer with kesar and a host of dry fruits and nuts sprinkled generously

on  top. The quantities were not enormous but I remember my grandma always putting away a part of these tempting pakwaans in separate containers even before the puja commenced.

 


Why are you taking out the kheer from the kadai, dadiji?

It is for the watchman uncle, kusum maushi, her kids, the subziwali aunty and so many others who serve us all year. Today is our turn to serve them, dear.

 

Meanwhile, the living room would be abuzz with the preparations for the Laxmi pujan going on in full swing with none other than dadaji directing the proceedings: The preparation of the altar with a picture of Laxmiji with Ganeshji and Saraswatiji pasted on the wall, a copy of Bhagwad Gita placed on a Lal pata, a few silver coins placed in a row; and other preparations like making cotton wicks, stringing flower garlands; and finally, placing the big diya in the centre, with the smaller ones arranged at a lower level as if they were sentinels guarding it. Then each would get a wick and oil, ready to be lit. All the offerings — fruits, kheele, patashe and the pakwaan would be arranged around the altar.

Seeing Dadaji take care of all preparations to their minutest detail and observing his unwavering devotion, I realized even at that tender  age that Diwali was indeed the biggest of all Hindu festivals.

 

Before the puja began, the smaller diyas would be lit one by one, followed by the big one. That signaled the commencement of the Arti . The clapping of hands, the tinkling of bells, and the voices joined together that soon rose to a crescendo in the culmination of the divine song.

O Goddess Laxmi, come to our house and enlighten our souls,

Your children welcome You in their humble dwellings…

…Bolo Laxmi Mata ki Jai!

 

As the song slowly faded out, the noise of the crackers outside would assault the ears but I would find myself drawn to the beautiful radiance of the big diya…..

*******

Years have gone by, times have changed…..so much so that the warmth and bonhomie of the ancestral home and the extended family slowly became distant, the tins of hand-made laddoos came to be replaced with big boxes of store-bought mithais and the new dress no longer remained exclusive or special….

Why is one diya big and the others small, dadaji?

Beta, the big earthen diya is to guide the Goddess’ path into our world, and the smaller ones are meant to guide our path into Hers…

 

I shake myself from the reverie I had sunk into. I look at the glow of the large diya and see that it is still as captivating as it had been when I was a little girl.  The soft echo of the voices continues to ring in my ears over the noise of the crackers outside — its nostalgic glow reaffirming the real spirit of the festival, which dadaji had instilled in me.

WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY DIWALI!

Glossary of terms:

Arti — Prayers offered with a lamp

Diya  — lamp

Dadaji – Grandfather

Dadiji  — Grandmother

Poti – Granddaughter

Rasoi – Kitchen

Kheele – puffed  rice with the husk

Patashe – sweet made of melted and solidified sugar

Kadai – wok

Kesar – Saffron

Pakwaans – Delicacies

Subziwali – Vegetable vendor woman

Lal pata – Red wooden board used to sit on

Mithai – Sweets

 

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155 comments

  1. A wonderful narration of your childhood days.Memories are always wonderful to share 😉

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  2. These are really wonderful memories that you’ve shared. Nice to see that you are able to remember even the small details 🙂

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    1. Bingo! Wonderful memories like these when shared indeed double up the joy. Thanks for stopping by, Ashwini. 🙂

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  3. that is once again such a beautiful post Arti…learning what your name means make me love that wonderful soul of yours all the more…the beauty of your soul is reflected in words and photos that truly inspire everyone to love life, be prayerful and to love family and traditions in a very special way…glad to have found my way here today 🙂

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    1. You can see such reflections because your own soul is so beautiful, kulasa. 🙂 A wise man has rightly said, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Thank you very much for your warm comment and welcome, very glad to see you at The Cyber Nag 🙂

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  4. What a fantastic post reminiscing about childhood days. So pure, the
    little girl took so much pride in her work. To live with Grandparents
    teaches us so many things, we do learn how to live our lives in the
    correct manner. Thanks for this heart felt post Arti.

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    1. Thanks, DS. Well said. Also, the lessons that we learn from our grandparents are rarely forgotten. It’s one of those bonds which is difficult to express in words – IT is a precious gift from God.

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  5. Zephyr thank you for allowing Arti to spread her wings and words to others who may not have read her blogs. She is most gifted in her ability to take one back to whatever moment, time or travel she is sharing with insight and soulful creativity. Arti no matter where your travels or words are shown, you always have a light shining in you.

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    1. Carrie, the only source of my light is the loving warmth of caring people like you. I’m truly overwhelmed by your kind words… Thank you very much for just being there and making this world the most beautiful one for me.

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  6. Thanks for introducing us to Arti and her blog. And thanks for inviting her as a guest blogger. It’s a very touching story. It’s seems to bring back childhood memories of all the commentators here. Beautifully written.

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    1. It is entirely my pleasure to have her as a guest blogger, Otto. Glad you liked her post. 🙂

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    2. Happy to be introduced to you, Otto. It was an honor to be invited as a guest at Cyber Nag and a pleasure to interact with all lovely people here.

      Glad you liked the story, thank you 🙂

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  7. I love your posts Arti… I enjoyed this one… It was so touching!
    Its beautiful, it has reminded me of the task that I was asked to do in my house.. Mum would give me this task only after she was sure that I would do it with absolute care.. And I did make sure to give the diyas a nice clean bath.. 🙂 The fragrance is still the same… and I can feel it here.. This time I could not be home and I celebrated the grand fest in my special way in Europe.. Hope you read and enjoy it too…

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    1. Thank you, Manjulika 🙂

      It’s really interesting to know that my post has a reflection from your past too. Would surely love to read about your celebrations in Europe and how is the atmosphere like over there! Just returned from one of my yatras, will be catching up soon 🙂

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  8. Dear Mom,

    Every time you blog and I see so many comments, my heart swells with pride. And to see so many guest blog posts on your blog from old and young, new and popular; the Cyber Nag today is the breeding ground for strong relationships, friends and bonds sewn by something we call the blogging.

    Yours,

    Vinni

    ——–

    Dear Arti,

    Its good to see one of the best travel bloggers in India today do a feature here. And you keep up the legacy of brilliant blog posts this time around as well. Loved the pictures and how they evoke strong emotions in every Indian because its a festival each one of us celebrates in some form or the other. We don’t burst crackers, or have elaborate proceedings but these pictures sum up the we way we do it each year. Simple and close to the roots. I have been staying away from home for so long, but never forget to light a lamp during Diwali. Hope your Diwali was even more colorful than the pictures you have shared.

    Best regards,

    Vinni

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    1. Thank you Vinni for the endorsement and the appreciation. Hosting friends on the blog is a pleasure and when they find friends and followers from my space, I feel as happy as a good host feels when her guests enjoy the party. The comment field is open for discussion and airing of new perspectives and fresh ideas without reservations. I learn so much from them and am sometimes stumped for replies, so erudite and great they are! Arti was very sweet and has pulled out all stops to do this most beautiful post for me.

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    2. It’s really nice that you never forget to light a lamp, I’m sure that helps you connect to your loved ones far away from you. And why only family, the sparkle radiating out from these Diwali lamps is something that, I believe, leaves out no one — enveloping one and all in it’s warm blanket of love, joys and unitedness.

      Thank you Vineet, for your heartwarming appreciation. I am a raw writer and a very simple travel blogger. Every time I write down something and find people appreciating it, I’m only left humbled by their overwhelming love and kindness and nothing else.

      I would also like to take this opportunity, to again thank Aunty for accepting a personal post from a traveller and making me a part of ‘Cyber Nag’. It was a pleasure and an honor to be here and interact with all the lovely readers. This place is full of love and inspires one to put their best foot forward, and I’m sure it will always be kept that way. Cyber Nag has come a long way no doubt, but I must also add — this journey has only just begun. So keep blogging and keep wielding that belan of yours, my best wishes will always be with you 🙂

      And yes, my Diwali was full of colors, that also explains the reason for my late response here 😦 Sorry about that and hope all of you had a wonderful festive time too 🙂

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  9. Wonderful images and equally lovely style of writing- Arti, thanks for the lovely share. Zephyr- thanks for the feature:) Belated Diwali wishes to you!

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    1. Hey nice to see you here! wish you belated Diwali wishes too or should I say advance Diwali wishes for next year? 🙂

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      1. Uh oh:P Sorry about the late wishes…i thought Zephyr was a humorless aunt, going by the profile display pic:P

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        1. LOL appearances can be deceptive, my dear 😀

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          1. So i understand dear. Happy to meet a like minded middle aged aunt;) Drop by my blog when you find time- Another middle aged aunt from blogosphere;)

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    2. Thank you, CN 🙂 Glad to see you here. Belated wished to you too!

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  10. What a lovely post – so simple and kind. Full of light!

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    1. Thank you very much, LadyFi And welcome to CyberNag! Feels wonderful to see you here and hear your kind words. Thank you 🙂

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  11. Ahh…nostalgia…so seductive…so tough to let go of..I could picture that dreamy eyed girl carefully dipping the diyas in that bucket of water and tenderly patting them dry.

    What a beautiful post you’ve written,Arti.

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    1. Indeed difficult to let go, and more so when you know that the nostalgia has a few learnings stored in itself for you. Thank you very much, Ma’am. I’m delighted to hear that comment coming from you:)

      Thank you.

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  12. I loved this post so much!! It too reminded me of childhood and the simplicity of yester-years!! Thank you very much, Arti and Zephyr!! Wishing you both a belated happy Diwali!

    I love this explanation: the big earthen diya is to guide the Goddess’ path into our world, and the smaller ones are meant to guide our path into Hers…

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    1. I love that explanation too, it has so much of depth woven in a few simple words, isn’t it? Thanks so much, Roshni! Wish you a very belated Happy Diwali 🙂

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  13. Beautiful post, Arti. Brought back some fond memories!
    Best wishes (though belated) for Diwali to you and Zephyr!

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    1. Thanks GND and wish you even more belated Diwali greetings 🙂

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    2. Thanks, Girl 🙂 Best wishes to you too, belated!

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  14. This is an excellent writing on Diwali and its ethos in our younger days. The culture, its meaning and its relevance has got diluted today. Probably we live in a more materialistic world where a holiday means more money, shopping, holidaying abroad, etc…..its like you want to buy something to be happy…not about enjoying, relishing or appreciating the togetherness or the spiritual aspect of it.

    I would be happy to add a Guest Post on my blog Sekhar’s Page if you get time to contribute one.
    Thanks and wish you a Happy Diwali.

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    1. That is very right. As Alka also says above, celebrations have been reduced to more consumerism today. If we could put it this way, we can say that we have forgotten to enjoy all the various things that we have including money… the right way. Thank you for your kind
      appreciation and invitation. You have a wonderful space and I would’ve loved contributing but the thing is I am actually a travel blogger and posts like these are very rare from my side. Right now, I dont think I will be able to keep the commitment, hence kindly excuse me for the same 🙂 Wish you a happy and prosperous year ahead.

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  15. Nice post. The place where I live, I could find all the rustic dias from the kumhars and also the regular matkis. I was happy that I could celebrate it the way I wanted to.

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    1. That is so nice to hear, Jas. If we have a strong will, we also find the way. I am very happy that you could celebrate it the way you wanted to and I’m sure you always will! Happy festival greetings to you and your family 🙂

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  16. What a beautiful memoir, Arti! Loved reading it and loved the images of Diya. Diwali is more about family than about the festivities.. For me, it’s all about meeting, greeting and remembering the roots, the people and place where we belong.

    This post has inspired me to put together something for my blog too.. 🙂

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    1. Its the same for me too, Swati! Family, bonding, love, values, the spirit – everything that keeps us rooted to the place where we belong to, thats what festivals are meant to do. And wow, to inspire a brilliant photographer like you is a feeling like no other! Thank you very much for lighting the cyberworld with your beautiful photo feature! Keep blogging 🙂

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  17. Arti, loved the third image. It captures innocence and beauty together. The post took me down the memory lane. Sadly Diwali has been overcast with the dark shadow of consumerism. Its more about gifting and burning notes….oops crackers.

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    1. True, true, very true. Lets make a wish together — May the lights of the festival bestow on us enough wisdom and will power so that we can shoo the big bad demons of consumerism away from our lives for all the years to come! Amen. 🙂

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  18. inducares · · Reply

    Hi Zephyr & Arti,this is a lovely post so endearing & sentimental.One feels a direct connection to all the preparations—-very well written.

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    1. Thank you Indu, for the compliments. Do visit Arti for her lovely yatra posts. You wouldn’t believe she is a young girl 🙂

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    2. Thanks for your lovely comment, Induji. Glad you could feel a personal connect, thank you very much for your kind appreciation 🙂

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  19. Thank you Zephyr for hosting Arti for this wonderful, moving post. I could smell vividly the wet earthen diyas, know the joy of this task, and marvel at the beauty of this practice. How blessed are you to have such lovely memories. It would be impossible to tire of reading your splendid writings Arti. happy week to you.

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    1. Hi Becky, thanks for your visit, though I know Arti’s charm brought you here 🙂 I wanted to visit your site, but it is not opening. Could you please give me the correct link so I may visit you too?

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      1. Hi Zephyr,
        yes, after I left the comment I realized it was not correct. I have problems with WordPress for some reason, my email address will not work, so I make one up and that usually works but something went wrong this time. my blog address is

        http://shakinyourtree.blogspot.com/

        have a beautiful day!

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        1. Thank you very much for visiting CyberNag, Ms.Becky 🙂 Highly appreciate. You have hit the nail on the head. I feel really lucky to have got to spend some precious time with my grandpa and me, being the apple of his eye… I remember all the moments in his company so fondly today. Thank you once again, Becky for your kind comment and the link, I am touched by all your love. 🙂

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  20. That was such a sweet and heartfelt Diwali post. It was indeed lovely to read such wonderful Diwali memories of yours, Arti. You made me nostalgic and brought back some fond memories of my own. I was immersed for a while in your Diwali memories and it was so refreshing. And the love and dedication with which you went about washing the diyas is so endearing. Diwali is a festival that fills our hearts with warmth, love, fondness and bliss. Your post had every one of these emotions embedded in it. Thank you for such a sweet and lovely post. Wish you a very very happy Diwali Arti. And Zephyr.. thanks for yet another lovely post. And wish you a wonderful and fun filled Diwali. 🙂

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    1. Arti being such a popular blogger, it was wonderful when she agreed to do this post. And the way she has dedicated her pictures to the blog, is also so magnanimous, don’t you think? I am blessed to have such wonderful friends in my life, Raj. 🙂

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      1. @Zephyr: Aunty, there’s a reason behind that magnanimous approach 🙂 I always keep looking out for ways to associate my name with yours, in any form.. hence… All this has been like a dream come true for me,
        really. 🙂

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    2. Wow, you summarized the post so beautifully. Thank you 🙂 What you have said here is exactly what I had wished to convey through this piece – to highlight the values of love, lights and joy – that our festivals emphasize on and not on firecrackers or other flashy things that we have come to add on today. Thank you for reading the post so wonderfully well, thank you for touching its spirit 🙂 Wish you a very happy new year!

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  21. What a lovely post, Arti! Nice to read about the Diwali of your childhood. It was very heartwarming. 🙂
    Happy Diwali, Arti, Zephyr.

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    1. Glad you found the post heartwarming, Divya, wish you and your family a great travel filled year ahead 🙂

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  22. What a fascinating story Arti. Not just loved but felt every moment you have shared here. The Sanskaras you are sharing by your presence, writing and all the work are the treasure for all of us. We are blessed to have a friend like you. Very glad to see your thoughts on Zephyrji’s blog. Keep writing….

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    1. Hey Mohini! Long time! I am so glad Arti brought you back here 🙂 Do visit again.

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    2. Thank you so much dear, for gracing the post with your love. As long as there are kind hearted people like you who continue to read what I write and stand by me with all their loving support and inspirations, I promise.. I will. I feel short of words to thank you enough for all your selfless love – the blessings undoubtedly, are all mine. 🙂

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  23. Very well written, I felt I was there with you and your grandfather. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Mehroo, having been at your blog.. I now understand why you must have felt that way. Loved reading your version of celebrations, wish you and your family a very Happy Diwali 🙂

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      1. such a sweet response, thanks Arti. Being new in the world of blogging it is sure encouraging!

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  24. This is such a sweet post, Arti!!! Something that is truly you…I loved reading it and experiencing your life up close…Happy diwali Arti!!! May you be able to have small and big diyas always in your life!

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    1. And yours is an equally sweet comment, Bhavana! 🙂

      Thank you so much, so happy you loved reading one of my personal pages on Cybernag’s diary. I also wish your path always be illuminated by loads and loads of all sized diyas always 🙂 Happy new year!

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  25. Having seen your blog mentioned at Arti’s My Yatra Diary I thought I’d stop by and say hello. A great post, I’ve really enjoyed my visit. Happy Diwali to you and yours, PW.

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    1. Thank you for your visit Petty Witter. I do hope you like what is here and will visit again! Now off to visit yours 🙂

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    2. Thank you for your visit Petty Witter. I do hope you like what is here and will visit again! Now off to visit yours 🙂 Thank you so much for the Diwali wishes.

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    3. Welcome to CyberNag Tracy, delighted to see you stopping by. Thank you, please check out Zephyr’s articles also. She is a gem of a writer and I’m sure you will love them.

      Thanks once again. 🙂

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  26. hmmm so much tradition and things , I had no clue whatso ever, I do remember though putting the diyas in water t osoak and then having oil and lighting them on at night..

    My family is not very traditional and being a sikh I guess no pooja or anything like that is done.. for me it was the case of New clothes , Money , and Fireworks thats it …

    but sadly after my dad and grand parents passed away no more new clothes and since I have come here i am losing the touch to some traditions and all tooo

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    1. Thanks, Bikram. That is the beauty of our country, diverse cultures different traditions, yet we find elements that cut across boundaries and unite us all- like the new clothes and of course the memories..Living away from motherland does tend to take away the charm sometimes but please try to retain some traditions at least, that’s one of the gifts we can give to our next gens. Happy Diwali! 🙂

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      1. I do .. the Food and the daroo 🙂 he he he

        no jokes apart , i agree we have to follow some traditions else we will lose them in the next gen..

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  27. Wonderful post with dollops of warmth and love and those memories are priceless!
    Way to go Arti and thanks Zephyr! Happy Deepavali to all 🙂

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    1. Yes, priceless are those memories and they also make me miss them so much.

      Wonderful to see one of my favorite travel bloggers here! Thank you and happy new year to you and your family 🙂

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  28. Thanks Arti and Zephyr for this beautiful blog. It made me nostalgic…
    I appreciate all that our grandparents and parents did to preserve and carry on the family traditions. The fantastic memories still linger in our minds…. and we look forward to all festivals with enthusiasm! We have reason to celebrate , pretty up, cook up a feast and what not….
    Of course,, today we have redesigned the traditions and created new ones according to our conveniences – :))
    Lovely pics and amazing narration! Thank you,

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    1. How nice to hear that, Ma’am! I agree, we do have reasons today for appreciating the goodness our rich festivals bring along, thanks to the loving foundations set by elders like you 🙂 Redesigning is something we all do at some level and I feel is fine also as long as care is taken to retain the real essence of the festival.

      Thanks a ton. Very happy you liked the blog 🙂

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  29. It was such a beautiful post, it contained the true feeling and meaning of Deepavali. “The big Earthen diya is to guide the Godess’s path into our world and the smaller ones are meant to guide our path into Her’s”. Really a great thought. Thank you for sharing your fond memories.

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    1. True, Abhinav. As children we tend to ask so many questions to our elders and its in their answers that lie such great thoughts. They know how to instill the correct values in our minds at a tender age and I feel lucky to remember some of it atleast 🙂

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  30. nice post Arti, i just want my daughter too to enjoy being part of this celebration.. i am sure she is lucky one to be with her grandparents teaching her about festivals.. 🙂
    diwali Arti and Zepher

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    1. Thank you Ashreyamom for the Diwali wishes. Wish you a colourful Diwali too!

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    2. Of course, your daughter is a lucky one! 🙂 The love grandparents shower on their grandchildren is immense and I’m sure she is busy piling on fond memories to remember them just like so many of us are doing now 🙂

      Thanks a lot, Ashreyamom and Wish you the same 🙂

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  31. obsessivemom · · Reply

    Congratulations Zephyr for roping in Arti for this post. brought back hordes of memories. Arti.. I did the diya washing too with my sister. Mmmmm.. the smell of freshly washed diyas is still with me and the kheer.. mouthwatering. It’s a blessing we lived in a joint family. happy Diwali to both of you and your families.

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    1. I did the diya washing yesterday and that smell is something that I will carry on till the next year. One thing that I absolutely love about joint families is you get to learn so many things that nuclear families fail to do.

      Thanks a ton, Tulika. Happy New Year 🙂

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  32. Nostalgic,this brings back the memories of childhood days starting from counting number of days for Diwali holidays to begin and all the fun with crackers & sweets. We used to divide the crackers amongst brother & sisters but still used to fight for more. What a fun.

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    1. Sweets was something I looked forward too. I never bothered whether others got their share, being the smallest kid of the family, and waited for the puja to get over soon so that I could get my hands on the Diwali kheer and then have it to my heart’s content 🙂 But yes, whatever it was – It was fun.

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  33. Beautiful post Arti.
    Yesterday I went to buy sweets for Diwali and was wondering where all the old diyas have gone. The market was filled with designer diyas in various shapes and sizes. Although, they look pretty, they somehow take away the simplicity of the era we have lived in earlier. I did not buy them because I don’t think everything needs to be flashy.
    Thankyou for this post. I could almost smell the diyas after they are washed with water. 🙂
    Thanks Zephyr for this post.
    Wishing everyone a very happy Diwali.

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    1. Me too, Amit. I am tired of designer diyas and designer kalashes. I wanted a mitti ki choti matki and could not fine one :(. Why, is there no demand anymore?

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      1. Rachna, you should have told me. All this still alive and can be found in many places in Delhi. Would have sent the diyas atleast! Bubble-wrapped! 🙂

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        1. Hi Naina, Thank you so much. I managed to find them at a kirana store :).

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    2. Wonderful step that, Amit. It’s people like you and thoughts like
      these that ensure that festivals are still celebrated in ways they
      were always meant to be. It is not always necessary to go with the
      flow, such a wonderful lesson there. Thanks, Amit and please accept my
      apologies for late response.

      Like

  34. that light from the lamp is so magical to see Arti, and I just learned now that your name is related to that light from the lamp as prayers offered with a lamp. so beautiful post, thanks for sharing the meaning of celebrating Diwali. happy Diwali to you.

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    1. Indeed magical, betchai. If you observe it for a good length of time, you feel its glow connecting you to a different world of a higher order. Arti means prayer, the hymns sung in the glory of the Lord and most often this is done after lighting a lamp. Lights, love for elders, finding joy in the little good things of life is indeed the real spirit of the festival and I am grateful to my elders for introducing me to the same from an early stage in my life.

      Appreciate your visit at Cybernag, Betchai. Very happy to see you and wish you a Happy and prosperous Diwali too 🙂

      Like

  35. First of all, what a lovely tender post, Arti! I have found some amazing bloggers through your blog, Zephyr! Thank you for introducing me to Arti. Now coming back to the post, Arti, you took me right back to my childhood years, where all diwalis were spent in my nana’s house in a small town in UP with my uncle, aunt and cousins. Those were truly festive days. We kids would get busy with those snake thingy, pistols, and crackers etc. Mom and the ladies would make yummy treats to eat. I especially loved the kachoris mom made. The simple laxmi-ganesh poojan, beautiful diyas in every part of the house! On Badi diwali, they were kept lit all through the night. And, of course, all 4 days of the festival celebrated with gusto and culminating with bhai dooj. All kids wore new clothes, though I distinctly remember dad and mom something foregoing that. My heart reaches out to those memories. Diwalis became so very different when we moved to Mumbai. How could I forget the massive cleaning that took place at that time? Now with my own family, I miss these occasions and especially my mom. I try to still do the laxmi pujan this way. Cleaning and kachoris are still done religiously :). But these days, it is more about dressing up and putting expensive lighting or giving expensive gifts. Friends just wish you from the doorstep and buzz off. No one has time to come sit and share tales. These are the simple things I so miss. Thank you for this post, and wish both of you a very happy and prosperous diwali!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Rachna. The guest posts at Cybernag does a great job of connecting bloggers! You seem to love your childhood memories too. I also remember those moong dal kachories being fried for the visiting guests the next day after Diwali. And how could I forget the fresh coat of paint/ chuna ahead of the big day. The charm of all this today no longer exists 😦 We do tend to miss the olden days, one reason being the genuinity that would be infused by all back then: Less of show and pomp and more of spirit and friendly bonhomie. There were no signs of ecards or phone messages and this was one time in the year when the entire family looked forward to meeting and greeting each other personally. But as you have rightly pointed out, no one has time today and everyone is busy in doing his own work… His way.

      Like

  36. My first introduction to Arti was also my first to any other blogger. The Kissan contest had her post about her Grandpa planting a Tulsi plant along with her and I found that very moving. After that, this is the next personal post I think. Thanks Arti for taking us on this lovely walk down your memories and thanks Zephyr for getting Arti to take us along on this journey!

    Like

    1. … And I wish we always stay connected, CS. I love surrounding myself with humble and talented bloggers like you, even a small pat from them works wonders for me! Thanks a lot 🙂

      That’s right. This is the next one after the Tulsi post. Thank you for walking with me along this one too and Happy Diwali!
      🙂

      Like

  37. Such a beautiful post to light up a Deep for Deepavali!
    Shubh Deepavali to you and yours!!

    Like

    1. Thanks you very much, Sir! Glad that you liked it 🙂 Shubh Deepavali to you and your family!

      Like

  38. Lovely post Arti. The subtle Diyas, the sweet, and the memories, the sharing and caring … Wow. That is the way to celebrate.

    Happy Diwali.

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    1. That is the way indeed and loving elders like you lead us to it 🙂 One more granny, one more blessing… Thank you Pattu Ma’am and Happy Diwali to you and your loved ones 🙂

      Like

  39. Bring back the beautiful memories in our lives is nice thing. Especialy if the memories remind us about the value of kindness in a moment.

    I hope all the glowing light of diya will bright your life Arti..

    Happy Diwali for all..

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    1. You are so right, Mareta. It’s the values of kindness that really light up the festivals than any other thing do… These festivals are a good time to remind yourself of all those values and pray that we always choose the right paths in life. 🙂

      Thank you very much for your comment, Mareta and I wish this Diwali brings loads of joy and light in your life and your near and dear ones 🙂

      Like

  40. Such a beautiful nostalgic post, BM. Thank you for hosting Arti. will check her blog too.. 🙂
    Took me back down the memory lane. Soaking the earthen diyas, drying up the crackers on the terrace, going up and down the stairs the whole day, dressing up, showing the neighbours and relatives new dresses the whole thing…I loved the last sentence about the big diya and the small diyas 🙂 I really miss celebrating Diwali..yday a friend got plenty of crackers and in this stupid country, too many rules to fire them 😦 Rushi had been popping them in the balcony or the front corridor though 😛 Happy Diwali to all of you. Thank you Arti…:)

    Like

    1. Wow! We all have something in common from our festival celebrations memory box, don’t we? I remember how I used to proudly run around showing my new dress to glory to all my relatives and well wishers. And how my heart would jump in joy when someone made a nice compliment for it!

      Which country are you in? Popping the crackers in the balcony must be fun too, I guess 😛 Though I was never into them except for a phuljhari which I indulged in, that too only rarely 🙂

      Thanks Latha, please do visit my space… I will be checking out your space too. Happy Diwali to you and your family 🙂

      Like

      1. Sure, will check out your space. I just had a glimpse of it. OMG, you are an avid traveler.. 🙂 We live in the US.

        Like

        1. Ah, US! That’s nice.. we need more of such laws in India 😀 Thanks for checking out my blog, I checked out yours too, it’s beautiful! I left a comment too 🙂

          Like

  41. A lovely post Arti – it lights up my soul! Will participate in Diwali in my own little ways, for light is what we need right now! Happy Diawali, blessings!

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    1. That is the way to go, Martina! Participation is important, not the grandiosity of it and I’m sure you are going to do a great job with your colorful efforts!

      Thanks a ton, Martina! Always happy to hear from you! Wish you a very Happy Diwali!

      🙂

      Like

  42. Since coming to “know” you over these years, Arti, I especially look forward to your writings about your childhood, so filled with love and respect for your family. I find my own heart swelling and my eyes filling with tears as you speak of your ancestors and their faithful observances. I found this reverie very moving. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

    1. From one granny to another. I am happily counting all my blessings this Diwali.

      It’s only love and appreciation from kind-hearted souls like you that inspires me to keep digging into my past and writing them down in the form of nostalgic posts even though I’m a complete novice. I’m really delighted to hear those words coming from you.

      Thank you very much Barb, really appreciate your presence and support always.

      🙂

      Like

  43. Wow. Due to this post, now I am smiling like a stupid and remembering times when I went through such beautiful and fun activities. The whole clan getting together in one ancestral house, the whole place bustling with all sorts of activities. Indeed this festival always manages to leave behind certain vivid memories every year. 🙂 Great post. 😀

    Happy Diwali. 🙂

    Like

    1. How sweet 🙂 Really… moments of pure unadulterated fun and love can do that to you 🙂 They do make us chuckle once we grow up a bit, but those days were real bliss… glad we all have our share of memories to light up our (and other’s) hearts and souls.

      Thanks, Harshal and Happy Diwali 🙂

      Like

  44. Such beautiful and nostalgic post, exuding warmth all the way! There is nothing like childhood memories on festivals like this that make you connected to your roots.

    Thanks for this one, Arti and the very wonderful Zephyr.

    A very happy Diwali to you both!

    Like

    1. Warmth is in the air, Naina! You are so right, these memories connect us to our roots and then help us grow and prosper in the right directions. A very happy Diwali to you too!

      Like

    2. Hey Naina, thanks for visiting and liking my space. Do come again 🙂 Wish you a very happy Diwali too!

      Like

  45. Hi Zephyr, my first time here.. lovely post!! In my home, the biggest diya was the akhand jyot which would be kept burning from DIwali to the 3rd day after that. And even Goddess Laksmi’s murti and the coins would stay in the milk, covered by a cloth for those 3 days.. and then the 3rd day, we would formally nahlao the murti and coins and take everything away.
    Arti has done well and she has raked up childhood memories… 🙂

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    1. Welcome here, Punam 🙂

      Your way of celebrating is a lot like mine. We also bathe the coins and the murtis in milk and then keep them for the puja but unlike you it’s only done on the Diwali night. Similarly, the akhand jyot is kept burning the entire night only. Keeping it going for three continuous days is a real wonderful tradition! Thank you for sharing it here, glad the post could take you a walk down memory lane 🙂

      Like

    2. I am so glad that Arti took you down memory lane. She has the ability to take her readers along where she goes 🙂 Nice to have you here, Punam. Do visit again!

      Like

  46. You have made me pass through my Childhood Arti.
    All the things you have written here matches too my past too.
    We also Celebrated Diwali same as the way you did and my Babaji would always lead it.
    Few hours back I bought Diyas with my Mom.
    And the Pictures were so beautiful.
    First time here on Zephyr’s Blog though I am ardent follower of yours.
    Loved your Post

    Like

    1. Thank you for your visit and kind words, Abhishek 🙂

      I remember reading a post on your Babaji and I know how close you were to him. We all have wonderful memories of the times spent with our elders in our hearts, don’t we? I love hearing about them as much as I love reliving my own. Happy Diwali!

      🙂

      Like

      1. Thanks Arti !
        You have a strong Memory I must appreciate 🙂

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        1. Thanks, Abhishek 🙂

          Like

    2. Welcome here, Abhishek. We are all great followers of Arti, aren’t we? Do visit my space again 🙂

      Like

  47. Arti…this one was one beautiful post. Very evocative indeed and we could see you as a little girl learning from your grandparents. I love the festival of diyas and lights and the significance of every little thing we do that makes the festival so special indeed. Wish you and your family a very happy diwali! Zephyr aunty — Glad you featured Arti for this post. Wish you and your loved ones a very happy Diwali!

    Like

    1. You are welcome Richa. Wish you also a very happy Diwali! How was your travel?

      Like

    2. Richa, thank you! The significance of the festival and the loving and heartfelt sentiments that we fill each little thing that we do is what makes these celebrations very special for me too. Wish you and your family a very happy Diwali 🙂

      Like

  48. Happy Deepawali to you, Arti and to you, Zephyr and your family too!

    Arti, enjoyed reading this post! You took me to my childhood to my grandparents’ house! You seem to be very close to them!

    Yes, nowadays, shortcut methods are followed for everything! I still do the sweets and savourees at home. Hope to do it as long as possible. I want the next generations to remember me like you do about your grand parents! So I do a lot and distribute to relatives and friends!

    The flame in the single diya looks as if it is moving! Very nice photograph!

    Like

    1. Same to you and your family, Sandhya!

      The time we spent with our grandparents is definitely one of the best; all the memories – priceless treasures! Shortcuts seem to be the trend these days, but then we do take delight in the fact that there are so many like us who still believe in retaining at least the basic good elements of the festival as they were always meant to be. Your ways are inspiring and I wish you continue doing things the same way. Glad you found the flame entrancing, thank you 🙂

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  49. The smell of earthen diyas and the light form the lamp that is lit the whole night in front of goddess laxmi is what I remember most about Diwali. This was a wonderfulyl nostalgic post Arti and I loved reading it ! A very happy Diwali to you and to Zephyr as well !

    Like

    1. Same here, the light of the big Diwali lamp is definitely one of the highlights of the no moon or amavasya night. And I remember my grandma keeping awake all night to guard it’s flame from going out, which looked like such a wearisome task to me. 🙂

      Happy Diwali! And thank you for taking your time out to visit my little space, I’ll be at your’s soon 🙂

      Like

  50. Thanks, Maddie! I am so happy this post could bring you closer to home, so what if only in heart and mind. Here’s sending you extra warmth and cheer to light up your festive occasion wherever you are 🙂 Happy Diwali!

    Like

  51. This is such a lovely post and so timely! very heart-warming to read especially when I am so far away from home and loved ones.

    Like

  52. I’m quite the Scrooge when it comes to festivals, Arti. 🙂 But then at the same time I also feel good stuff and positivity and all the good things that come with it. Your post is beautiful and heartarming in the nicest possible way — nostalgia through childhood innocence.

    Thank you for ensuring such an auspicious start to the Diwali season, Arti and Zephyr. And a very happy Diwali to both of you 🙂

    Like

    1. True, Sudhagee. 🙂 The reminders of all the good things in life and all the positivity it spreads in our lives and the good stuffs is the real essence of the festival. The real beauty of our festivals lies in the fact that we all have different ways of celebrating them, not necessarily detailed, but we still retain the spirit of the festival in our own unique ways. And I’m sure you are no scrooge in your way, whatever it may be. 🙂

      Happy Diwali to you, Sudhagee 🙂

      Like

  53. Thank you Zephyr for hosting Arti on your lovely blog and who else but her could do justice to the subject! Arti,nothing much has changed for me as far as Diwali puja is concerned in terms of washing diyas, drying them, lighting them and all home made delicacies. Next day from, dhobi, postman, watchman et all get their share! It was a divine feeling to read this well crafted post. Wish you and Zephyr and everyone at homes a very happy Diwali:)

    Like

    1. That is wonderful, Rahul sir! Doing things the old way such as preparing the delicacies at home or washing the diyas surely has it’s own pleasure and bliss. And I really love the ‘sharing’ aspect the festival brings with itself. To gift a smile to someone is a joy like no other 🙂

      Thank you for your generous words… and wish you and your family a very Happy Diwali 🙂

      Like

  54. Great to read the post of Arti, truly beautiful post & nice photos.
    Thank you Zephyr , Great to visit you blog.
    Happy Diwali to Arti & Zephyr and all of you.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words, Rupam da. Glad you liked the pictures and the post. Happy Diwali to you too 🙂

      Like

    2. Thank you Rupam for your kind words and your visit to my space. welcome again! Happy Diwali to you 🙂

      Like

  55. True essence of the festival of ‘lights’..spreading light …
    Loved this post and discovered a new blogger today. Will hop on to her blog to read more of her posts. Ganges has made me fall in love too…in many cities, in many moods, the river is a world in itself.
    Thank you Zephyr for introducing such lovely bloggers to us 🙂

    Like

    1. Bang on, Sangeeta. Spreading lights, love and joy and to add something more (as bhagyasree has pointed out), driving out the negativity in our lives is the true joy of the festival.

      Delighted to know we share the love for River Ganga. And I just found out, we share one more love in common – the love for food! Will surely be digging out more from your yum blog space 🙂

      Like

  56. Sigh…. Such a feel-good post… reminded me of the innocence of childhood and the warmth and love and togetherness….all the good things associated with Diwali. 🙂

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    1. True Ashwathy, after all that is what the festival of Diwali is all about – warmth, love, joy, lights and togetherness. And childhood is indeed one of the best times when we experience all of it in all it’s purity. 🙂

      Like

  57. That is a beautiful sentimental post. Arti’s regular travel posts are great but nostalgic posts bring sheer delight to the reader due to the warmth in them.

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    1. So happy to see you here TF. You are as encouraging as always and I always feel motivated by your warm words and presence. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you 🙂

      Like

  58. So love this post. And the fact about the big lamp and the small
    Let the lamps this year dispel the negativity in our lives and give us the strength to carry on….

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    1. Amen to that, Bhagyasree! May the lights erase all the darkness and illumine our souls for spreading nothing but joy and cheer all around us for all the times to come. Such a good thought, Happy Diwali to you 🙂

      Like

  59. Love, love, love this, Arti and Zephyr! (Special thanks to Suranga for leading me here before your email update reached me!)

    Takes me right back to the days we would be up at 2.30 am on Diwali day – and start heating water in all the various brass “tavalais” for everyone to finish bathing before 5 am. Then the oil massage ritual would start, the eldest in the house applying a token handful of oil on the head and leaving the recipient to take it up from there. The young ones (yes, we were a joint family) would have the privilege of a full massage as they screamed and shouted instead of enjoying it 😀

    I especially liked to eat the vethlai roasted in the oil.

    I’ll be thinking of you as I wash my own agal vilakkus in prep for Diwali today. The beauty of earthenware is something else!

    Beautiful photography,Arti and a wonderful blog post. 🙂 Happy Diwali to you!

    Zephyr, I’ll phone you tomorrow, okay?

    Hugs! Happy Diwali to you!

    Love, Vidya

    Like

    1. This comment requires a glossary Vidya! Else poor Arti would not understand half the terms 😀 She is indeed a great travel blogger and wrote a personal post just for me! Ya sure, I will wait for your call 🙂

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      1. With due apologies to Arti.

        Dear Arti – I was referring to brass “urns” for boiling water and betel leaves roasted in oil, And I’ll be washing my own earthenware diyas today 😀 I hope I covered the jargon.Thanks for pointing it out, Zephyr – I was just excited to read the post.

        Hugs, Arti – I really enjoy your blog (as a subscriber) and think this post is fabulous. I learned something very useful today – about watermarking guest post pictures – it is such a fantastic idea!

        Happy Diwali again!

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        1. You said it – the beauty of earthenware and when combined with the pleasures of a joint family – Ah!

          Thank you for the glossary, Vidya Ma’am… I got your sentiments very well and Zephyr aunty, it was only your inspiration that I could write this one down! I can write any post, any time just for you and the pleasure obviously is all mine!! 🙂

          The ritual of the oil bath sounds so wonderful. Being the youngest in my family, I can imagine the mayhem that the young’uns must be creating 😀 This is something very similar to the oil bath tradition we have on Choti Diwali where a mixture called ubtan (of gram flour, oil, milk cream) is prepared and we are told to take a bath before sunrise so as to give a glowing complexion to the skin. I’m so happy I could take you down to a walk down memory lane, our festivals are as much about memories as they are of celebrations and it is fascinating to hear the nostalgic emotions we find in them 🙂

          Thank you for all your lovely words. I am overwhelmed to hear all the encouraging words from senior and wonderful bloggers here… motivates me no end 🙂 Love and hugs and Happy Diwali to you as well 🙂 And yes! I’ll be washing my earthen Diyas too, perhaps today or tomorrow 😀

          Like

  60. This cheered me up Zee and I am all set to take in the light and spread some around in return…Thank you Arti for this lovely post.

    Like

    1. You are already at work spreading light, aren’t you? Your beautiful comment lit up my face, so glad the post could cheer you up… Thank you. 🙂

      Like

  61. Such a heartwarming Divali post. Much needed today. Lovely vignettes of a little girl proud and captivated to do her important work of cleaning the diyas. Learning about giving and honoring folks, from her grandma, as they set aside sweets for those who are a daily part of their lives.

    But what really signifies the spirit of Divali , are the photos, which she has undoubtedly clicked herself , but which bear a watermark that says Arti@TheCyberNag !

    Happy Divali Zephyr and Arti and thank you for this lesson….

    Like

    1. Thanks so much Suranga Date Ma’am. Glad that you enjoyed reading it 🙂

      My grandma always believed in lighting a face as much as she believed in lighting lamps. She found a lot of satisfaction in it and inspired us to be the same. The values instilled by my grandparents have helped me immensely and I treasure them wherever I go.

      About the watermarks… thank you for pointing out that interesting perspective of sharing and caring in it, indeed a lesson for us all! Happy Diwali to you too 🙂

      Like

  62. What a wonderful way to set the festive ball rolling. Thanks, Zephyr, for introducing this Arti. Am so accustomed to her stunning riverscapes and temples (global now), that this post was refreshingly different. And the images of the washed diyas, they are amazing. The way she has described the rituals from a child’s perspective is also very beautiful.

    Like

    1. Thank you Subhorup for your kind words 🙂

      It was such a joy back in those days to celebrate Diwali, the rituals was what brought the entire family together. The washing of Diya’s was such an integral part of Diwali (it still is) and I felt so proud to see my grandpa always keeping that work for me 🙂 I remember always looking forward to all the festivities and merriment associated with the festival as the youngest member of our family.

      Like

  63. Thank you so much for this lovely post, Arti! Knowing that you don’t usually write personal posts, I feel honoured that you chose my space to do it 🙂 I went back in time with you and heard and saw all that the little girl did and said. The pictures are all very evocative.

    Diwali is indeed the most important of festivals for the Hindus and is a special one for me since I love the lamps and the light they bring in to the human hearts. So this post is doubly precious for me.

    Wish you a very happy Diwali!

    Like

    1. Thank you for featuring me in your highly esteemed space, Aunty and for guiding me throughout to make this post what it is 🙂 I’m deeply honored and very delighted to be writing a post for someone whom I’ve grown up admiring. All my personal posts (whatever few that I have) are very close to my heart and this one is no different. To get a chance to write it down here and that too on an auspicious occasion like Diwali… I take it as a blessing for me 🙂 Thank you very much for all the love that you have showered on me and My Yatra Diary. We’re humbled 🙂

      And, oh yes! It is always a joy going back in time and reliving all those memories, the times we spend with our grandparents and all the lessons that they teach us. They add so much of meaning to a festival, isn’t it? I love the lamps too and the entire glow associated with them. I am so glad I could take you with me once again 🙂

      Wish you, L&M, the brats and the lil angel Diya a very Happy Diwali too 🙂

      Like

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