Diwali Moments

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Diwali brings back myriad memories from my childhood. Of school holidays, trips to our ancestral home, meeting my kakas (Uncles), kakus (Aunties) and the 11 cousins. Now my dad has 3 younger brothers and 2 sisters and every year we would make it a point to meet up at my grandfather’s house.

Diwali meant aarti (a ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee or camphor is offered to one or more deities) at the crack of dawn, of oil massages, of having a bath with uthna ( powdered mixture of sandalwood and some other perfumed salts) and shikakai ( soap nut)… wearing new clothes..


Diwali meant eating breakfast at one kaka’s house, lunch at another and dinner at yet another. Everyone would cook together, eat together on banana leaves.. innumerable chai sessions with public demands for chivda, Bhajji, vade, thalipeeth, holige, kattin saaru, soppu saaru,  Bhakri & badnekai Palya (Diwali Sweets & savories) . The amazing faral – chakli, kodbole, shankarpalis. Of kaituttu and baituttu under the moon light..

Laughter that could be heard two streets down..

Diwali Food

Diwali meant making Diwali cards, and sending and receiving postcards from our family overseas..

Child Magazine Diwali 8

Diwali meant making jhendu (marigold) and shevanti garlands adorning the courtyards.. each cousin then trying to outdo the other finally leaving the courtyard covered with colorful rangolis and other artistic designs..


Diwali meant, spending the evening curled up around my grandmother, listening to the stories from the Ramayana.
Diwali meant bursting crackers with the whole community.. The elder ones hand holding the younger ones and sometimes the reverse..

IMG 4112

Diwali meant a grand laxmi pooja at my uncle’s foundry.. and dad’s factory too.. It was a time to meet the workers, give them sweets, gifts, This used to mean a big deal to us kids.. Cos a factory visit during Diwali guaranteed cult status.. we felt important and humbled at the same time..

Diwali meant building Shivaji Killas [ Fort] with Shivaji sitting on top of a huge mud hill.. cardboard forts were built.. cars, carriages, soldiers with ammunition guarded the fortress, The miniature city would be abuzz with cattle tilling the [mustard seed] fields..horses running wild.. tigers and bears. Followed by visits to every street corner to find the best one.


Image from one of my fav blog friends Neelum  via

and how can we forget the  – The lamps.. innumerable clay diyas that were painstakingly painted, Akash kandils ( lanterns)

Diwali diya

We also had a very special tradition of making a huge paper lantern. Each member would be involved in cutting, patching and sticking.. Finally after all dinner was had .. 4 of us would stand on top of a chair holding a corner while my uncle would slowly hold a mashaal (flambeau) under it till the lantern was filled with smoke that would make it lighter.. and then magic would happen .. slowly but steadily the lantern would rise higher and higher till it would become a tiny speck in the night sky..

Brighten up your Diwali with a stunning DIY Paper Lantern that brings not just light but lots of color into your life as well, this festive season!

As each one of us watched in wonder, Diwali gave us the gift of togetherness, happiness, teamwork, connecting to our roots and most importantly of memories that would last us a lifetime

*I’m from Belgaum. So we have mixed celebrations karnataka style & maharashtra style.

Edited to add – we won the contest at blogadda. Here’s what the judge – Bhavna had to say
As I read through your post and saw the beautiful pictures, I felt as if I have been invited to your ancestral home to celebrate Diwali with your family! I enjoyed the very well structured, visual journey through the entire day, starting with oil massages to family lunch to rangoli making and finally the lighting of diyas. I loved the part about Shivaji Killas and the huge paper lantern – traditions not known in the northern part of the country. Thanks for sharing your family celebrations with us.

Thank you Blogadda, Myntra & Bhavna.

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  1. @PV: 🙂 I don’t have any old pics. If i did u could almost hear the laughter coming out of them 🙂
    @Sands: Yes diwali does make us all dreamy
    @SG: LOL. yup i miss the banana leaf food too.
    @Pree: thats my daughter 🙂
    @pangs: Hey! welcome here. I’m glad i could do that to u.. Huggs.
    @Ani: Thank you.
    @Patty: The diwali moments are traditions carried on from childhood and now I see my daughter enjoying the same.

  2. What a lovely post sis! You are gifted. The joy your article brought was almost same as what we used to experience those days 🙂

  3. Shruti, this was such a lovely, heartwarming post. Your daughter is adorable. and your memories are magical–thanks for sharing!

  4. Beautiful post Shruti, vry true, Diwali always takes your memories back to those cherished moments, Thanks for linking in the Diwali Dhamka.

  5. Lovely post indeed Shruti. Deepavali is definitely a fun festival and apt for large family gatherings. Last year we were in India for Deepavali, it was the first we attended since we got married 10 years ago. The whole experience was so nice and we are still so nostalgic about it 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your memories with us. I loved the last bit where the entire family makes the big lantern. Must have been so magical to watch it float away!!!

  6. mus say such a lovely write up…..

    Shruti,I’m not sure in which post I got to read about traditional south Indian way of making tilak…by spreading lemon drops and turmeric on copper plate… I think that I read about that in your post itself…..

    I have been scrolling all the Diwali Carnival enetries on various blogs including Colorsdekor, keybunch ….all day long again n again

    I’d be grateful if you or any other person could please leme know the traditional method of making tilak…..

  7. Lovely post Shruti… the pictures make all the difference. Great blog. Why oh why did I find it so late!! Wonder how many more good things I’m missing in life.:-)

  8. A huge paper lantern…!! Thats awesome.. Have never heard of this before…!!! Lovely pics…!! How I miss having a full meal on a banana leaf…?!!

    Thanks for linking to the blog party …!! Hope to see you participating for Xmas and New Year too…!

  9. Speechless. Thanks for sharing those magical moments from the past.

    The pic of lil P praying is beautiful. Kala tikka and wishing that peaceful expression, the innocence, the belief stays with her forever.

    God bless you all

  10. @Niv – 🙂 it sure was fun
    @Mohini – Huggs. Suddenly I feel the urge to be a child again back in M kaka’s house
    @GB – Thank you. Lil P loves Diwali
    @R’s Mom – Huggs. Thanks
    @Rekha – Esp for us cousins I think Diwali was really exciting
    @purplehomes – Thank you 🙂
    @Swaram – Isn’t she cute. She evens bows to a candle. LOL
    @Priya – Thank u.
    @Bikramjit – LOL. Aajao we’ll treat you to that scrumptious food.
    @ಪುಟ್ಟಿಯ ಅಮ್ಮ – its very popular in maharashtra. Since Belgaum is on the border same customs prevail there too.
    @Shankari – Ohhh Diwali with family must have been so much fun.
    @Janhavi – Hehe. I love ur pic in the pony tails standing next to ur dad.
    @Anonymous – Sorry. I have no idea. But heard something like that. Never tried.
    @Obsessivemom – Welcome here 🙂
    @Emreen – That was a custom in the family that we followed for nearly 15 years without fail.
    @Arundhati – Thank you 🙂 Huggs. Kids make it so much more special.