17 October, 2005

Life is like a giant wheel and roller-coaster . Sometimes you go up, and sometimes you go down. Certain moments lift you up and certain moments pull you down. We need to learn to live with both. As of today, I turn back to see those wonderful moments I have had in my life. Most of the good ones were during Diwali. As we talk about it each one start having their sweet memories. I have had wonderful years of Deepavali. (Let me call in our own style)

Just few days before the arrival of Deepavali boys used to talk about it in the school.
"Dey.... They are buying crackers for Rs200/- in Kumar's house...da."
"Dey... I am going to my uncle's house. My uncle is coming from Dubai. We will be having crackers for Rs1,000/-". Nobody had uncles in US in those days.(atleast among my friends). Being in a middle class family, I knew the budget and never used to utter about anything to my friends. After coming home, used to ask my mom, about our family budget. It used to be very meagre, when compared to my friends. I never talked about the budget to them. The amount spent on crackers were estimated with the related rubbish in front of the houses.
"Dey.... did you see the rubbish in front of Sankar's house? I think they have burst a lot da..."
" Come to our street...... Uppili has lots of cousins who have come from Bombay.They all have burst crackers so much it is going to take days to clean the rubbish.".
The best joke among boys was some of them used to collect those rubbish lying in front of somebody's house and after putting them in front of their house used to boast that they only burst all those crackers. Clever ones (like me) used to say that we took all our crackers and burst it in front of their house, because of the cattles in the neighbourhood.
Among girls, dress and ornaments were the talk. All the elderly women used to gossip about the latest design sarees available in Nalli, Rangachary, Kumaran and all the shops in Ranganathan Street. It is really nice to think about this festival which brought so much of happiness to everyone.
I do remember also, the few years when we happened to have no celebrations due to deaths among relatives. I really wonder whether those kind of mourning is followed by people today. In those years, we never used to celebrate even for the demise of Grandparent's cousins. Nowadays it is different. Unless there is a very close relative's death, the traditions are not followed.
I always liked the morning of Deepavali. My mother used to get up first in the street and burst the first cracker of the street and wake up everyone in the street. There was our traditional Nadhaswaram musician called 'Raghavan' who used to come along with his troup. Though Raghavan's main profession was hair styling, his part time job was playing Nadhaswaram. All his accompanice used to be half sleeping (especially the boy who used to put Jalra.It is an art to put Jalra rhythmically and as well as sleep). The length of the music was according to the wealth of the people's house they visited. One of my neighbour was a very stingy man, and they played only for few minutes always in their house. Every house owner used to give them money with Betel leaves, and nuts. I used to wonder what they will do with so many betel leaves.

Most of the children never stopped with the crackers they had. They used to collect the half burnt crackers and flower pots and collect those chemicals in a paper and later used to burst them and get injured very badly. One of my friend Sankar in childhood, got his fingers burnt very badly. I wonder whether his kids do the same now. I had some seniors in my street who used to have the rockets in their hand and light them. One of my friend's uncle called 'Thambi Mama' came from Coimbatore and I still remember the rocket he launched. It came back to him. I always wondered why the rockets fell after certain distance. I wish I was born before Newton. The most dangerous of all was 'The Train'. One of my neighbour was working in Standard Motors Factory. They had a staff society and used to get crackers for cheaper rate. He used to bring all new varieties of Crackers. During one of those years, when we did not have Deepavali (due to my father's demise), my sister and myself got up early morning and started looking through the windows at the entire street who were celebrating merrily. We felt sad for our Dad. I had a doubt whether my father will come back alive the next year and was pestering my mother whether we will never have Deepavali in the future. After the dawn, visiting friends houses was another thrill. Everyone in their Deepavali dress, and walking to show their friends was a common sight.
"Ganga snanam Aacha....sir...." was the usual question among elders.
" Yennanga indha pudavai thaan vanginneengala.........yennakku kooda indha colourla .... vanganumnu aasai........ Yenna jananga.....Gumbalana ...Gumbal...Seri po...nammakku kuduthu vaikalainu...vandhutenga..." was the woman folks grumble.
Some vivid readers will be with their Deepavali malar. The best was 'Kalki' and 'Ananda Vikatan' malars. I still remember one of Madan's ( My favourite) cartoon.
Two boys lighting a Rocket on the road was the first scene.
The second scene will be a gentleman reading newspaper on the open terrace, and the rocket landing.
The third scene will be the gentleman looking surprisingly at the rocket where two astronauts will be walking out of it in a cool manner.

Oh.....god.......those were wonderful days. Later we started questioning about Deepavali in our early 20's. The charm started dying. Again picked up the enthusiasm during our first Diwali after marriage. Normally for most of the new Maapillais it is yet another skill to show before their in-laws. Now after becoming parents, celebrate it for the children. My son on hearing about the childless labour did not want to burst crackers for few years, until he was definite that those companies were not using any child labour. I am proud to have a son like him. Nowdays after the evolution of private Channels, Solomon Pappaiyan and Dindigul Leoni is seen in everyone's house on the Diwali day.

Now that we are in UK, we are missing all these happenings (though not the TV's). But I never like to miss Deepavali. I keep visiting Chennai every year. Yes........... I am leaving to Chennai on 23rd October and hope to see some bloggers when I visit there.

Hi Bloggers of Chennai........... Hope to see as many as I can.


I dedicate this posting to all those wonderful people who make Deepavali a memorable one by working behind the screen like Taylors, Crackers Factory Workers, Chefs in Sweet shops, Tradesmen and many more who work tirelessly to make others happy.



Jo said...

That was a very nostalgic post sir. I have gone through the same here. It doesn't really mean how much money we spend for the crackers. Here also people burn a lot of money in this for our parish festival of St: Sebastian.

வேதா said...

the post brought back my memories.i still remember during my school days,we used to bet who is going to blast the first cracker in the whole street.my bro and i used to get up by hearing the nadaswaram,(in ur case he was a haristylist,ours was a milk vendor)and go out to check whether we are the first ones to burst the cracker(as a tradition we use to burst one cracker before ganga snanam)and then take bath and go back to streets.nowadays,diwali is occupied by "ulaga tholaikatchigalil mudal muraiyaga" films in tv channels.but the spirit has not come down,anyway happy diwali sir

Jeevan said...

oru Diwali kondadna mathire iruku friend younga post.

What u said is right about collecting rubbish. my cusion Brother will come and tell to me on every Diwali day, our next house have many Pattasu paper in front of there house, can i collect them and put in front of our house. We will put a fight with our parents on next day morning why u clear all papers. All depaavali we used to put holes on our dress with Vothavatthi and have a shout from parents, it is a very happy days.

Wish u a Happy Diwali, will meet in chennai.

ada-paavi!!!! said...

diwali, i also was fond of crackers when i was a child, not now. now its just another festival,
a very nostalgic post i must say,
hope to meet u in chennai

Balaji S Rajan said...

Jo- It is all the same everywhere. Heard that you will be visiting Chennai. Shall meet in Chennai.

Veda- Thanks. It is wonderful to talk about good moments always.

Jagan- Happy to know that you had similar experiences of bursting Crackers.

Vatsan- Chance illai. Naan dhan oru IR paithiyamnnu ninaichane... Anna..... naan othungarane....

Sundar Narayanan said...

pullarichhcu pulagaangidham aayitten sir.. exact same experiences.. weird part was i remember my wife mentioning to me once that her grandpa's hair stylist was also a naayanakkaran and he used to come and play nadhaswaram for diwali.. you arent by any chance from west mambalam are you ??


Balaji S Rajan said...


Most of the Nayanakarans were also hair stylist. I think most of us would have had same experiences. I grew up in a beautiful place called Perungalathur and not West Mambalam. But we had some friend's cousins who lived in West Mambalam. Do you remember those tennis ball flood light tournaments in West Mambalam? Anyhow...thanks for your comments... Narayanan and myself are childhood friends... He said that he had a good time with you.

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Andha Naal Nyabagam ...nenjile vandhadhae..nanbane..nanbane.!!

I remember that one year ..when I think we went shopping to buy some jeans at the store opp DMS, yeah..GOYALS.!! Do you remember that.!!

Nice post Bala..!!

Balaji S Rajan said...


How could I forget the Deepavalli when 'Nizhalgal' 'Varumayin Niram Sigappu' were released and we went to see both of them. I think one of that was first day first show or second show. I think it was Nizhalgal. Do you remember that?
Hmmmmmmm....... Old is Gold. I remember going to Goyals. A nice shop.

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Yes Balaji, I do remember the nizhalgal incident.!!

Chakra Sampath said...

Fantastic post... brought back lot of good memories of Deepavali.. have a great trip to chennai.. have a blast! ;)

Nallavan said...

that was a very touching post sir.
when we were little kids diwali meant only one thing, crackers. but nowadays we really don't have the spirit in the so called metros. all we do is get up and burst some crackers for the sake of doing it and either watch tv or go out with frnds. hope this will change and diwali will once again become a festival to be shared with our loved ones

Sureshbabu said...

Great post........remembering all the Deepavali childhood days!!

All my brothers were Kamal fans and our friends in the neighbours were Rajini fans. When Guna and Thalapathi were released for a Deepavali, after the New song Oliyum and Oliyum in DD, we all ended up arguing that our hero's movie is the BEST.

Also I distinctly remember the first time, when I heard CHINNA CHINNA ASAI song from Roja ( a deepavali release again), the songs was mesmerizing. I could sense an Music Icon has arrived!!

After I grew old and married, it's a delight to watch Salamon Pappiah's pattimanram with my father. More than anything it's always the delight to see your own father enjoying those lighter moments.

This year my Deepavali is in Los Angeles, perhaps in office, how sad!!