Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Year at Home

New Year celebrations at my home, a town-ish village (or was it a village-ish town?), are very vibrant and carried a lot of excitement. Of course, New Year preparations everywhere have that festive mood and anticipation in the air, but there are two distinct aspects that are integral part of the preparations in my hometown, which you can take for granted represents a stereotypical Indian budding suburb, born out of mosaic of cultural practices and modern festivals.

Although much of what is written here dates back to late 90s and early 2000s, not much has changed in my aforementioned not-so-much-of-a-town town.

Being still a semi rustic place, the winters are not so corrupted, thereby making it necessary for us to wear winter gear from Nov to Feb.

New years here have two main aspects. The first of it is Rangoli, and second, - we will talk about it a little later. Almost a week before Jan 1, one can spot hand pushed carts and regular shops selling colours, bright colours which almost everyone in the town seem to purchase for the new year & Sankranthi Rangolis. Nice patterns and diagrams made in front of the homes and coloured vividly, with so many colours and flowers, and a year written somewhere beside the Rangoli. 

(pic credits: Google images)

Although, it’s mostly considered a girl’s job, in houses where there are only guys, mother happens to make Rangoli with help from her sons & neighbours.

There’d be a lot of inspection & judgement by the neighbours, muttering, ‘Oh, it’s nice’, ‘that’s just okay’, ‘that looks bad, oh poor lady! Both her kids are in City, studying, she had to do it all by herself’, ‘this one is too nice for someone whose both kids are guys’.

But when accosted by the neighbour directly, asking how their Rangoli was, the reply invariably happens to be, ‘I’m thinking that from next year we should make you do ours as well, too good.’

(pic credits: Google images)

I announce to my mom, ‘Our Rangoli should give a stiff competition to others,’ and she nonchalantly replies, ‘If only I had a girl -,’
‘Well, you don’t have one, I & brother would help, you make the outline we would colour them.’

This inspection usually happens before and after the countdown, and the few phone calls to the important/loved ones over the already overloaded phone lines, which usually gets disrupted for few hours after handling so much of the load, and after that I’d go for a long walk with my dad, while my brother and mother were either tied to the awesome TV programs or peacefully sleeping covered in a multitude of blankets and rugs, while munching the Regi Vadiyalu (dried Fritters made of Indian Jujubes), which I bought turning a deaf ear to my mother's orders, 'Don't buy those things, eat the fruits if you want, but not those.'

(pic credits: Google images)

The next day I would be allowed to pick a diary of my liking among many diaries and gifts my dad had received.  As kids we used to use it to note down imp stuff, which means noting down General Knowledge (GK) questions from the Game shows, later I used to note down song lyrics, then eventually I started using them as diaries to write my journal, though I guess my brother still uses it for the GK questions (*wink wink).

The second main aspect, though it is more common among the students and kids 

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