All lit up already

So, where were we? Ah, thats right, at G’pa-Nani’s place.

Poor old grandparents were shocked out of their wits when we drove in. The gates were thrown open by my aunt, the dogs all ran out on the road barking, we hopped out of the car and went tearing down the road calling them back, the kids rushed out and just generally began to squeal and yell in excitement. I think the neighbours went deaf.

My aunt and uncle who were in on the plan had made some awesome biryani for us with a lovely raita I’ve only eaten made by my aunt. It’s soya methi, rai and raisins in curd. Yummy. We’d thought of keeping the visit a secret from them too, but given my parents’ penchant for surprises I was terrified that we’d land up here only to realise that they had just landed in Delhi. And so this was the control mechanism. It was my aunt and uncle’s unenviable duty to keep the old fogies under lock and key.

Post heavy lunch we passed out and the old house was finally silent. There’s a certain amount of peace that can only come from going to sleep in your old bed in your ‘maika’. By the time the OA and I woke up, refreshed and ready to take on the world, the house was buzzing with activity. They’d decided that if the OA was here with them they were going to give him the best Diwali ever, pull out all stops.

With all the house help on leave my parents and uncle, aunt and cousin were in a frenzy, digging out our Christmas lights from storage, pulling out pretty candles that were hoarded and never lit. And most of all, racking their brains over a rangoli. It’s easier said than done to make a rangoli if its not part of your growing years and culture and I was bowled over by what my talented aunt and cousin put together with fresh flowers. And kurta pajamas were hastily dug out, ironed and donned, silk sarees worn and the best was my little cousin J, wearing a lovely bandhini saree in honour of celebrating Diwali with her brother-in-law, the OA.  I take extra pride in these two little cousins of mine because I consider them to be my first set of babies. Such an absolute pleasure to grow up with that I promptly had two of my own the moment I could!  The Bean in a little pink and yellow lehenga, the Brat in a lovely orange kurta, the OA in a kurta similar to his son’s and me in a cream and gold Mallu set mundu/mundu veshti with  a red and gold chanderi blouse.

Lots of wine, cheese and a heavy dinner late we went out in the garden for pyrotechnics! I was of course one terrified mother as the two pests ran around lighting firecrackers. I think one of the greatest pleasures of being a father is in teaching your progeny to play with fire. Or so it seemed from the look on the OA’s face as his spawn gleefully lit rockets and anaars while I sat there gritting my teeth and telling myself that we were not going to go up in a ball of fire and that other mothers had survived this trial by fire so I’d live to see dawn too. The grandfather added to my terror by generally encouraging them.

The next two days went by on the swings, frequent rides on scooters and bikes, playing with the dogs and generally chilling. The trip back to Delhi was as nightmarish as the trip from. The train was 6 hours late and by this time the OA and I were pros. Leaving the kids to shimmy up and down the berths, look out of the windows and generally fend for themselves. Teeth were left unbrushed, hair uncombed, bread and eggs (why do they always taste so good on the train?) for breakfast and dry fruit thereafter, with an unusual indulgence – sips of tea from our cups!

And then we were back home, in Delhi. Safe, sound, tired and in no mood to get back to work. In case you think that isn’t enough I had a teeny accident, bumped my foot and ended up with a suspected fracture. I’m fine of course. Nothing serious.

Here are pictures of the Brat and Bean enjoying the fresh flower rangoli – careful not to touch it and ruin it


The rangoli  – for your viewing pleasure.


The brats doing all in their power to scare the crap out of the fish. I bet they stopped laying after this…


One of the endless rides. Cousin K is persuaded to take them for a ride.


Her highness is preparing for the races… in Nani’s hat.


Anyone remember these ugly, snake pellets? The kids freaked out over them….


The OA has the pleasure of introducing him to his first mehtab….


G’pa teaches him to light rockets in the middle of the street….


The Bean surrounded by dogs. We’re reaching a crazy stage with her where we can’t go out on the streets without her chasing strays to pet them. I know, I know, she needs a dog but for chrissake, does anyone realise how much I have on my plate already?!!


And yet again – on the scooter… this was one trip where they were constantly on some vehicle or the other!


Car-o-bar. The Delhi system of serving booze out of your car boot at a wedding. In this case, adults are knocking back beer while the babies lie in the boot of a car left open in the garden so that we can listen to music.


This has been one of our most hectic trips and its also been the landmark one where the kids come back rather upset. They’re usually quite accomodating and I shuttle them around mercilessly. This time I’ve heard one tiny voice or the other say every night… ” Mamma… can we go to G’pa-Nani’s house tonight?”

40 thoughts on “All lit up already

  1. What a fun way to celebrate! Hats off to your family to create the festival mood just for OA and make it enjoyable. You have a lovely family. TOUCH WOOD. Honestly, even I want to go to your parent’s house. I envy you.

  2. Oh MM I wish every day were a festival day for you – so you can post these fairy tales for me to read and dream about!
    KNOCK ON WOOD! Your kids are so blessed! What a loving set of grandparents they have!

  3. What fun!!! Festivals feel so different when you celebrate with family – glad you enjoyed that magic! Warm hug to all of you!

  4. Hi MM,
    lovely post and looks like the Mad family had a fun-filled, glorious Diwali. 😀
    Your hometown posts always make me nostalgic and I feel like buying a ticket home!! 😀
    Wish you all a lovely rest-of-the-year!

  5. NICEEEEEEEEEE! wish I could surprise my parents too ! hey – I wore a mallu saree recently too..( not sure if I have told you- i am half mallu- daddy is a mallu).. Did you wear the saree version or the proper set mundu- veshti thingie? and no pics of you? even with face blurred cmon!!!

    Me: arre yaar. you know my life. there are no pics of me, blurred or otherwise because i was the only crazy coot taking pictures madly… 😦

  6. Hi MM,

    Thats an awesome rangoly that your cousin and aunt have put up !! Looks like the brat and bean had super fun time and they look great in that Diwali attire

  7. Oh you’re just like me then…I appear in abt 1% of our family’s pictures…you’d think I was an absent mom:(

    Isn’t it heartbreaking when they long for their grandparents at bedtime? I’ve made eleven o clock phone calls so we can all feel better:(

    Lovely pix. and lovely post.

  8. Hey MM,

    Its very heartwarming to see that your family went out of their way to make the diwali special for OA. God bless them.
    Btw, loved the pic of Brat and Bean in the boot of the car. Reminds me of the time i used to sit inside cupboards and almirahs as a kid.

  9. lovely MM, soo soo lovely.And that bit “There’s a certain amount of peace that can only come from going to sleep in your old bed in your ‘maika” – bang on! I can’t wait to do just that. 2 weeks more. Oh yaay. And MM big kaala teeka for your gorgeous family !

  10. Why the photo blurring? I remember you once wrote you might begin to blur the kids’ faces when they got older…

    What is ‘rai’ (in the raita)? And what sort of cracker is an anaar? Bomb-type? I hate the bomb types.

    Me: rai is mustard. the yellow one in this case. the kids pics – well, you cant see them since LAST diwali that you spent with us (remember the pics I put up had no faces) and i just try and keep it as little as possible without losing the mood! anaar is i think, called flower pot. anybody know the correct name?

  11. Hey MM,

    Nice adventurous Diwali!..n its not Diwali if its not with family n close ones…rt? Love the kids in traditional attire!!
    Loved the rangoli and also the Diwali pics in the previous post.

  12. Oooo I used to love the snake pellets as a kid. Only complaint was the amount smoke that it gave out. Could never light it in a closed space such as a corridor. My cousin too was a great dog-lover , she used to pet stray dogs too when she was a kid. Very nice rangoli.

  13. i know when a visit to some place has been success when the moment we see photos Cubby says “waapas jaayenge!”

    beautiful all the way MM! 🙂 loved every picture and the memory it has created!


  14. Lovely pics:) There is something simply magical about spending festivals with grandparents- the insane levels of pampering and spoiling is just bliss. The snake thingie was so creepy but a hell of a lot of fun to watch!

  15. You are for sure a one of a kind mum…i would be terrified with the sight of 3 stray dogs around the bean..than her around the fireworks! That photo freaked me out!! You are brave for sure MM.

    Lovely posts. Hats off to your family. Such a warm feeling and no wonder you are all sad being back!

    Me: LOL! not stray dogs. those are street dogs my parents picked up as puppies. as a policy we try and adopt puppies instead of buying expensive dogs. the bean has grown up playing with them. the brat used to pick up the littlest one who was a puppy when the brat was also a…err.. puppy, and would fling him. we’d go rushing only to see the puppy come rushing back happily – he thought it was a good game :-/

  16. Just wondering why the brat and bean’s photos are blurred too? 😦

    Me: ki didnt notice, i havent shown them properly in ages?!

  17. u know to wear a set mundu
    i should “chullu bar paani mein doob marna”..
    being a mallu i don’t know 😦

    but am going to learn ..
    i asked my mom last night (before reading ur post ok???) to send 2-3 set mundus …
    an old one to practice and 2 new sets …

  18. btw, mallu saris rock. mum bought me one recently (of course completely ignoring my plea that my sari box is completely chokingly full), and i loved it. but my maroon blouse stained it maroon in parts, tough to maintain, this sari (of course my laundry guy is a complete idiot with no clue in life).
    but yeah, your diwali sounds fun (but tiring). your family will remember for years!! (with you on the pattaas thingies. managed to avoid it myself this year).

  19. i remember those snake pellets…i love diwali…the festival that makes me yearn for home. jsut love the festive air and of cousre the illumination from the diyas.

    its wonderful to see your kids share a special bond with their grandparents…its so important. mine dont get to see their maternal garndparents a lot but they do chat them up on the phone every weekend. they love spending time with my inlaws and its heartwarming to watch them interact.

    btw, i love the OA’s kurta…you should have put up a picture of you as well in saree.

    Me: Arrey – I dont have ANY with my saree 😦 my biggest regret. on the other hand I wear sarees almost on a weekly basis so I dont mind 🙂

  20. Lovely… the Beanie looks super adorably diva-esque, so what if she is wearing Crocs with her hat, her highness? Give her a hug from me.
    Is that a TN registered car in faraway UP? 🙂
    Oh,and the Chanderi blouse… do they sell it as ‘blouse material’? or did it come with a saree? red chanderi. wow, evokes beautiful imagery!

    Me: LOL! sharp eyes. yeah, my brother’s old car. the fabric can be bought in pieces too. its red and gold with a trimming of gold beads

  21. Glad you diwali trip was great !
    Just like others, noticed the kids have been blurred… does that mean we don’t get to see them clearly from now on ??? 😦

    me: but I havent shown the kids properly in ages, babe 😦 i got tired of strangers recognising them on the road. Its not that i think its dangerous, but i have no idea how it will affect them.

  22. Lovely, lovely and lovely. Happy Diwali and all that. Our daughter’s first was spent in a rush of getting her to here, there and everywhere, in a pair of jeans and a basketball-printed tee. We did stuff her into a lehenga the day after but am beginning to despair that we will ever mend our ways. Our baby was supposed to be the Festival Planner (Diwali! Christmas! Random Occasions We Don’t Know About!!) and here we are at Halloween with not a costume in sight or a trick or treat planned.

    And the dog thing? Don’t!! For your own sanity. Even if they stare longingly at them, and melt your heart. Even if they scream with laughter when they see one and instinctively reach out to touch the wet noses. Just. Don’t.


    Me: its okay 🙂 let her grow up a little and she wont let you get away with it. that said – the dogs are not strays. 🙂 theyre our home dogs.

  23. Such fun! I’m guessing the cousin who drew the rangoli was the one who also made the warli dancing figures on your wall — such finesse in art is rather rare! 🙂
    And I didn’t know sparklers are called ‘mehtaab’, sounds wayy nicer than ‘phuljhadi’

    Me: no no – different cousins. We’re all artsy types.. which is why the thought of the brat being a sciencey strikes terror at the core of my heart. And no – phuljharis are not mehtaabs. Mehtaabs are made of paper and just shoot fire out in a straight line.

  24. MM,
    Thanks for the snap of those snake pellets. Scared little girl that I was – that was one thing I looked forward to during diwali – graduated to the bigger crackers years later!!!

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  26. wow…looks like so much fun..thanks for the pics…brought back such lovely memories.not one bit surprised that b n b want to go back!tc

  27. So Im not the only one who thinks maika sleep is THE sleep. Oh how Im craving it with everything that’s going on here. Its obvious you guys had a great time. Looks like your mom and dad’s place is a kids’ wonderland – no need to go anyplace else!

  28. also, is that you holding open the gate, in the pic where the kids are ready to take off on the bike? 🙂
    I love the Bean’s bangles…she likes wearing bangles?

    Me: yes the bean loves bangles and No that is not me at the gate. i am ALWAYS behind the camera. its my destiny :-/

  29. Ah, flowerpots. I thought anaar was pomegranate…

    You’ve always blurred yourself and the OA… the kids’ faces are usually visible. Anyway, as you said, don’t spoil the mood!

    Me: actually, not very visible. Go back and see the pics. its usually an angle. this was full on, hence.. 🙂

  30. You probably heard this from a lot of people since you are a writer, but wow! reading your post was like reading a book with picture, it is almost as if we were there and we were watching it happen. Again, Wow! Looks like you had a fantastic Diwali spending time with loved ones and having a good time and that is really the essence of any festival!

  31. WHat a fun way to celebrate Diwali!!! Love the idea of a surprise visit…
    I have ALL my family in a 5-7 Km radius from my house…kind of a boon and a bane 😉
    I swear grass on the other side is always green 🙂

  32. Made me relive memories of my Nani’s house visits 🙂 There s nothing in the world like indulging old lives. Bless them.

  33. “We find your blog bit interesting….” interestingly worded compliment. Are you a bit flattered?

    Me: ‘bit’ flattered 😀 its spam dude. 🙂 Got to ignore. And yet got to publish because its inoffensive!

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