It was a muted Deepavali celebration for us this year …. we were remembering Padma Chithi and Vimala Chithi. Both passed away within a month of each other. We had just met them earlier in the year during Dhanush and Sriranga’s Upanayanam. Its just too sudden and yet to sink in.
Especially Vimala Chithi because she was doing fine health wise and just decided not to wake up one day. I can still hear Chitappa’s voice in my head as I made the call. Exactly a year back, Chitappa and Chithi had blessed us on Krishnan’s Shashtiabdapoorthi, Chitappa standing in for Appa. I was looking up my wedding pictures and Chithi had woven the flowers into my hair on my wedding day. She was such a pro at doing that.
Like I told my cousin Aravind we just have to remember the happy times because there is no other way to let go and accept a dear one’s passing away. I am just glad that we could attend Sriranga’s upanayanam because everyone got together for it – my father’s sisters and brothers and several of my cousins. We pulled each other’s legs and generally had fun like we always do. The smiling Vimala Chithi is how I want to remember her.
Deepavali Decorations at home
Our Condo association had made arrangements for a flower stall to be put up inside the condo complex. We also had a Diya stall. I bought just the flowers this time as we were not lighting diyas other than the oil lamps at home.
The first pic is the decoration at the entrance. Our door and Maa Durga’s painting that the Perfetti team had gifted us. The right hand top corner is the two Ganesha idols that I have had for nearly 30 years now. The larger one is from our shop (in Annanagar, Chennai) that we have since shut down. We had sold several of these Ganesha idols but this one just remained with us. He didn’t want to go anywhere :).
The bottom left picture is wall etchings of Maa Sita and Bhagwan Rama from Cambodia. I finally got them framed and put up. The bottom right pictures of Tirupati Balaji and Padmavathi Thayar are very special. They are posters printed in 1963, sold for Rs. 1 by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. During Amma and Appa’s wedding in 1968 they had been gifted by Thiruvadi Thatha. I got them framed again because they are intact, just a few watermarks at the bottom.
Note – In my maternal grandmother’s house the kitchen was called as Thirupalli. Usually the temple kitchens are called as Madapalli.
Since Tirupati Balaji is playing hide and seek with me, and not letting me visit him at Tirumala, I decided to take a selfie with him at home. After all “Sarvam Vishnu mayam Jagat” – “the whole universe is Vishnu”.
Thiratipal – Pichamma Paati Style
We made Thiratipal (loosely homemade Khoya with jaggery) in my maternal grandmother’s bronze pot after 54 years !!! Its not a typo, it is 54 years since this vessel has been used. Paati gifted it to Amma as part of her wedding gift and Amma doesn’t like any of these bronze vessels. She was ready to sell them off or just give them away. Thanks to Appa, who loved all these antique items, they survived through all the transfers and finally have reached me.
Like father, like daughter. I love every one of these vessels that my grandmothers used. Cast iron Wok that’s nearly a 100 years old, this pot that’s probably similar vintage.
The Thiratipal tastes awesome.
The food stays warm longer in these vessels. Just make sure that you don’t make sour items in these vessels as the acids will react and leave a green residue. My maternal grandmother was frail, and very thin, but she would lift these heavy vessels while cooking. That’s how our grandparents stayed fit – they pumped iron while doing household chores. Today we pay money to a gym and drive down to it 🙄. Strange world :).
Our Deepavali was made special by our neighbours, Meena and her family coming over, then Manish and Swati came over, and finally we did a video call with Harjit and Gurleen whom we have been meaning to meet since Jan 1. We received our share of blessings from Bhagwan through Rajesh this Diwali when he shared something truly special a couple of days back. So once again wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous Deepavali.
Jai Shri Ram. 🙏🏿