Friday, November 12, 2010

Spreading love, sweet love

My Dad held a position where people queued up to give him gifts on Diwali. My girlhood Diwali memories are tinged with anguish, of the family grappling with a constant stream of guests flitting in and out of the house, even at the oddest hours. The kitchen had to be in a constant state of preparedness, ready to dole out a snack or two and we were expected to greet everyone with a Namaste Uncle and a grin that stretched right up to my earlobes. I had almost perfected the art of dual expressions – combining my toothy smile with an odd menacing look. Sadly, it didn’t deter the guests from coming.

But my Dad more than made up for my bad manners. He would greet everyone with a loud, effusive Arrreyyyyyyyyyyy, like they were his long lost brothers from the Kumbh mela. Baba, who was it? Umm...I have no idea! But that’s my Dad, heart meltingly warm but memory challenged. Well, the daughter takes after him but instead of almost fainting with delight, I oscillate between “deer caught in headlight” and “the dead fish” look. My father-in-law is even worse. He once went to a relative’s “Shradh ceremony” and enquired earnestly from fellow mourners about Dashu Da’s well being. Dashu Da incidentally was the dear departed chappie in question. Trying to amend for the emotional distress he was causing, he put on a sombre expression and mumbled ...actually I meant Bishu Da, his brother. The guests were almost hyperventilating now and Bishu Da’s garlanded photo of six months didn’t look too amused either.

Coming back to Diwali and its associated custom of spreading love through casseroles, dinner sets and mithai. Have you ever wondered about the inversely proportional effect of the law of plenty – which makes you extremely allergic to things you see and get in plenty? That makes you want to throw up if you see another box of Milton thermos or a melamine dinner set? Your home sweet home becomes a haven for all the absconding boxes of kaju barfis and dry fruits and your Maa is constantly hatching plans to make you have them. You go to the movies with an extra large packet of dry fruits to munch on, the pulav has more kishmish than rice grains. I hated what the festive season did to my Maa. From her strict school teacher persona she would mutate into this scary mithai devi, constantly thinking up recipes to use up all that barfi. This after she had fed everything that walked in her periphery of vision with Diwali goodies, even our maids, sick of the sweet treats, would howl in protest. A few of them later went on to start a “say no to mithai” andolan, last heard they were trying to rope in Arundhati Roy for their cause.

I’m now married to a man who doesn’t have a long queue of eager gift givers. I have managed to get rid of my sneery smile and never ever try to scare off my guests. In fact I love having them over. After years of extreme allergy to all things kaju and kishmish, I have rediscovered my love for Kaju Barfis. And now every time I go to Mum and Dad’s place during Diwali, I look at the scary pile in the corner (it’s past its glory days now) and cast a sympathetic glance at my sis-in-law. Thankfully Maa no longer tries to feed us mithais with that manic gleam in her eyes, she now tries to sneak in kaju paste in all her recipes. Maa this gravy taste yummy. Oh wait! Have you been using kaju paste again???? I am wondering if she stands a chance at the Bihar elections with her new name Kaju Devi. If Bihar can have Rabri, can Kaju be far behind?


  1. that was hilarious!!!
    kaju devi and bishu da tales are loling!!!

    matter of fact every sentence is a howler!

    loved it!

  2. Your best post so far under the category of humour.
    Take a bow

  3. What is Diwali without its more than fair share of Kaju barfi's and mithais.
    Loved the part of Kaju Devi..ALso Bishnu Da oh sorry Bishu or was it Bishan.. I forgot, what can i say m memory challenged too.

  4. magiceye...My parents might disinherit me after this post :)

    Prateek...Glad you liked it.

    perception....Jeeeejuz I have company!!

  5. Hahahah! lol!

    Purba, ever considered writing a script for a movie, in comedy? You'd give the David Dhawan camp a run for their money. Ummm, they really need to run to shed extra kilos.

    Also, Arundhati is going to disown all the mithai in the country and blame China for its origin. Hmmm, that would be interesting. Chop suey served with Jalebis.

  6. Mithai devi and Kaju Devi :D lol that was a hillarious description !!! and oh ya I can give company to your father and father in law coz am equally memory challenged too ;) and greeting each other "Arrrrreyyy"

    Arundhati sure would be happy to join the new andolan but then Pawars and all those netas of sugar belt will have to run away from her vicinity and have ear plugs handy ;)

  7. Priyanka...LMAO at Chinese origin of Indian mithais.
    How about itsy bitsy octopus burfi :D

    Lakshmi...Arrrey!! the club keeps getting bigger and better.

    Pawar has his fingers in too many pies...sugar, vineyards, cricket...He has all the time and inclination.

  8. I think the festivals and the gifting patterns in India have changed during our generation and I think the internet and email is to blame..birthday greetings and gifts have been replaced by face book has replaced teen patti..
    diwali diyas have been replaced by lavender scented candles and this year in bombay you would not have known it was divali. no crackers, practically no sound or light.maybe obama is to blame..or is it the new awareness of child labour in the firecracker industry..or maybe it is the chinese again.
    maybe i did not know it was divali in bombay because i was in goa..

  9. Hahaha! Thats just hilarious.
    Have been here for quite many times but leaving my comment for the first time here. Really love your blog.

    A fun fact, Rabri Devi's younger sister's name is JALEBI DEVI.... :).....don't really know the name of other female members of that clan, there might be one Kaju Devi there already......hehehe!
    (Being a Bihari, thought to share this information with you.)

  10. Very Interesting...Times have changed. With all the news of adulteration in khoya I was a safe distance away from sweets this Diwali. Then came the news that even chocolate was adulterated. ...Chinese kaju barfi...maybe!

  11. Madhusudhan...Oh I love my lavender candles and Diyas. And Delhi was all lit up, noisy, chaotic and festive.
    And it's probably you don't know because you were too busy having a blast in Goa.

    Aashu....Mucho thanks :)

    I do remember reading about the siblings with mithai names :)

    Alka...Chinese Kaju barfi sounds triply lethal :D

  12. nice post. Dashu da and Bishu Da chaos was funny. hehehe...Kaju devi!!!! that wud be good. Jab tak rahegi diwali mein mithai, tab tak rahegi bihar mein Kaju devi eh?

  13. lol :D as amusing as ever :)

  14. Lol enjoyed reading this post. Kudos

  15. HOWLARIOUS! Absolutely! Loved reading this "Kissa kaaju ka"! :-D

  16. ROFL!! Kaju Devi :D :D Nowadays will all the adulteration in food (they even use urea!!) I avoid sweets on any festive occasions..I mean the barfi ones.

  17. ROFL at Bishu Da incident :D ROFL
    i love kaju barfis :D
    lovely post.

  18. nice post... very well written
    loved it :)
    am still lol'ing imagining the "who was it baba?... ahaa. I dont know.." incident :D
    would be glad if u could stop by my blog.. :)

  19. Always happy...Vote for her else be doomed to a lifetime supply of mithais.

    Deepta...Thanks sweetheart.

    vicious :D

    bhagyareema...glad you liked it

  20. Harish...Hehehe

    Vijatha...Wonder what it will be next :D

    opinionsandexpressions...Good for you, you don't have to worry about extra calories.

  21. Rajlakshmi...I like them too :)

    Manu...Would love to...

  22. roarrrrrrrrsum ...lolzzzz....great job gurl..golly i can feel tht icky overtly sweet taste in my mouth already...

    gr8 write up :D

  23. ROFL-Purba, a 'combination of a toothy smile with an odd menacing look'?Profile pic, please..:)

  24. My mom doesn't force me to eat anything. In fact, she asks me to eat less. I wish my mom was like yours.

  25. God Purba di you're some writer. The second paragraph had me laughing for real. And few blog posts have that kind of effect on me. About kaju barfis....let me tell you an interesting fact. I just recently,as in just before diwali, tasted kaju barfi for the very first time in my life. I think if I ever meet up your mom...she will take me for an alien who has just suddenly landed on earth. :P

  26. Aashi...Sickly sweet haaan?

    Amit...Lemme practice it in front of the mirror first.

    Nehra..Exchange policy?

    Samadrita... If were in Kolkata, I wouldn't touch kaju burfi even with a barge pole :)
    And thanks a ton :)

  27. Kaju Burfi??
    Can I have one??
    Your father sounds more like my father :)

  28. great way of expressing. well next time you can send in all the mithai's to my place. no andolan here.

  29. Purba this is screamingly funny-I think God has got special moulds for Moms and Dads and churns out Mithaipurna moms and absentminded but genial Dads on assembly line!
    Give my regards to Kaju Devi!

  30. Muddassir....Really? Ask him if he ever went to the Kumbh Mela.

    Pramod...Hahahah...Will send them marching to your place.

    Varsha... Not sure whether Kaju Devi is amused :)

  31. Hahaha...What a hilarious post!
    Man, Kaju devi and Bishu da, OMG!

    Btw, i found your blog through Indi blogger. Great post!

  32. Shrinidhi...:))

    Shalmalee...Ha! glad you liked it.

  33. Missed reading this post earlier since I was too busy. I would like to share some notes with your mom for the recycling of sweets ideas :) Kaju Devi is surely an apt name. But what about your dad? Doesn't he get one too?

    While we are at nicknames, how about doing a post on Bong nicknames? Blue Lotus and I had decided to jointly tag you on this one after reading your comment on my post.

  34. I had written a post on unusual names and it's perils way back in August

    Nick for Baba?? Hmmm..Actually for him I need a post.

  35. Mithai aandolan sounds good... i am tired of all these sick 'Khana, kapda aur makaan' aandolans :)

  36. ""like they were his long lost brothers from the Kumbh mela""
    Lol, thats seriously funny.

  37. Mohan...So are you joining it?


  38. I have been grinning ear-to-ear reading your post. Thanks for waking me up when I was on the verge of falling asleep on my keyboard to forget my Monday Blues. Only wish I had been at home so that I could have laughed out aloud as I so wish to do. Great fun read! :D

  39. :) i started this comment with a smile ..

    you reminded me of the days, when my grandpa would have such people , i wont go in detail

    but Kaju devi hmmmmm nice one :)
    na am sure people would love KAju more then rabri anyday .. :)

    hilarious but hey Kaju is suppsoed to good high in vitamins or have i been FEd all that on wrong information.. let me go and have a word with the KAJu and Badaam DEVI in our household ...


  40. Lol! are so right about that aversion-to-what-we-get-in-plenty theory, and its especially true in case of sweets! loved the post :)

  41. Omigosh! Being memory challenged when it comes to names and faces, in Indian Society, is a sin unforgivable! I'm surprised all of you actually got away with it! :D

    How many times have close relations carried on with spats lasting decades, only because one person said "Can you believe it? He didn't know my name?! The nerve!" ?

    People, I tell you. *shakes head*

  42. Sundari...You are not allowed to laugh in your office ;)

    Bikramjit...Et tu?? We all have our sweet demons to deal with. LOL

    Ana-treek...That's why I prefer a buffet spread. All that food and I lose my appetite.

  43. Giribala said...

    Poor little rich girl!! Enjoyed reading the post :-)

  44. Rindo..Oops I missed your comment. Naa I just smile my odd menacing smile. That takes care of things.


    Giribala...You comment got lost (you put it under another post...btw how did u manage that?

    Hmmmm @ Poor lil rich girl.

  45. Haha your posts always make me laugh out loud. Bishu da was a beauty. How do you manage to survive? You have written about everyone in your blog from your husband to your FIL... :P

  46. Aditya...LOL, they haven't tried to kill me. At least not yet.


  47. Memories of parents are always nice......
    especially when they are no more with us.

  48. nice post..i 'll definitely be the first in line if there ever was a "no mithaai aandolan" during Diwali...:)

  49. Haddock...Mine are very much alive and kicking:)

    chitz...Too much of anything spoils the fun.


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