Diwali was good )) According to the Hindu lunar calendar the new 2068th year came on October 26th. This is the most celebrated festival in India also known as a festival of lights because everything is decorated with garlands, candles and lights. Everywhere on the street you can hear crackers and lights burnt, fireworks shot, people are visiting each other homes wishing happy diwali and giving away sweets, and the shops get closed by 5pm. But let’s start from the beginning, from my arrival to Jaipur-city where I have my friend from Ukraine (Donetsk), Lyuba, living and working and waiting for me.
I came to Jaipur from Ahmedabad of course, had to take a very expensive bus that cost me 1000Rs because the decision to go came into my head two hours before the last bus departure. I packed in emergency mode having forgot a bath-towel at home, guess I will be a lousy galaxy hitch-hiker )
Each time I come to Jaipur I like it more and more and I even would not mind moving there from Ahmedabad, especially taking into account that almost all my foreign friends in Ahmedabad went back to their countries. But the only thing I cannot stand about Jaipur is auto-rickshaw. They never use meter and cheat you whenever possible, and whenever possible = every time.
I met with Lyuba and we went to a super-market to buy some stuff to make sweets. Security guards and personnel were smiling and wishing “Happy Diwali”. But we had an issue findnig a cinnamon powder for our sweets. Having searched through all the shelves we gave up and called a shop-assistant telling that we need cinnamon powder. He said – well, you know, we do not have cinnamon powder, but you can take garlic powder instead. Oh yeah, garlic is the best ingredient for sweets, no doubts )) Later on I discovered that cinnamon is hardly used in India in powder form.
This is a view from Lyuba’s balcony. Just to give you an idea about how motocycled India is. Note that this is not the biggest parking space. Bikes are never locked with lockers, owners just block the key, that’s it as vehicles rarely get hijacked.
In the evening we planned to visit Lyuba’s friends places so for this occasion Lyuba was going to wear a saree. She got a saree from her local friend Tarusi but since she had no matching shoes we went with her to shop a bit at Bapu bazaar. Bapu bazaar was all decorated with garlands and lights.
A tasty time for beggars, of course.
At the same time we decided to buy some candles for the evening, in Hindi they are called diyas, there is endless number of them in different shapes, textures and colours.
We bought several candles like these.
Bapu bazaar is one of the main bazaars in Jaipur, a lot of tourists buy stuff there, that’s why shop-keepers always try to be annoying and attract you to their shops, normally it’s something like “come come my shop, by my alladin, just looking, no buying”. Fortunately we didn’t need alladin pants, which, moreover, are not even traditional Indian clothes. Instead we went to a shoe-shop.
One should pull me off the ears from such shops. Actually, one should pull me off anything pullable from any Indian shop as suddenly a girl in me wakes up and wants to buy EVERYTHING, even dresses and bangles (which I already have several pieces, and the mere fact of having them is already surprising).
I liked very much these embroidered mojari shoes, but since I have a foot of a horse’s size they looked on me as if I was wearing skis ((
This is the way you try shoes in Indian shops, I still cannot get used to it. A shop-keeper will adjust a shoe on your leg, tie the shoestrings, find all possible sizes – everything is done by him.
In the end I bought these sandals, and one more pair of same sandals but turqoise colour, and one more pair of shoes, having paid for everything 600 Rs
and almost going bankrupt.
Also I could not ignore these bangles.
When you are shopping time just flies and we had to rush back home as Tarushi, a friend of Lyuba, was supposed to come and help Lyuba put on her saree nicely. I laughed my ass out while Tarushi tried her best to make Lyuba look like a woman. The result looked something like this.
A mom of Lyuba’s boyfriend then asked some questions about Lyuba’s tattoo and she said it’s just a black henna mehendi ))
I also dolled up myself and looked festively, though I didn’t get a saree.
We took all of our crackers and lights and went with Lyuba’s boyfriend to his parents. Crackers made me fun as they always have very strange packing ))
The round lights burn like this.
And these cones just fountained up with fire, looked very nice, but omg so much money literally thrown into air.
Some facts about aspects of Diwali celebration:
— Lights: symbolizing the spreading of Knowledge.
— Firecrackers: Watching the firecrackers gives a relief to the explosive tendencies inside. When the explosion happens outside, the explosion inside is diffused.
— Gift exchange and distribution of sweets: Sweets dispel the bitterness and renew the friendship.
— Feeling abundance: Feeling a sense of abundance brings awareness and gratefulness for what one has.
Besides sweets people give away to each other boxes with verious nuts.
We lit diyas, you just add some mustard oil there and they burn very well.
Then we went to the place of Lyuba’s friend. The door in their house is decorated with mango leaves and marigold flowers, this decoration is called toran.
On the coffee table there was a bowl with a candle and rose petals.
And in the corner of the living room – many Ganesh statues, I like this one most of all.
We were treated with this sweet thing called rasgulla, it comes from West Bengal.
And this is kachori, it has some stuffing inside and served with sweet chutney (sauce).
Near the house – a beautiful rangoli.This is a very painstaking work done with colourful powder.
The houses are lit up with all kinds of lights!
Diwali eve goes on like this: people visit each other, give away gifts and treat with sweets, burn crackers, have fun and cheerful talks. This is our company at Tarushi’s place, she is on the right from me in a light-green saree.
The next day we had a drive in the city, it was a bit complicated as there were many people who wanted to do the same.
People at Bapu bazaar.
A man carried away a shoe. A Cinderella dropped it, I’m sure ))
Put on a helmet and went, and she doesn’t care that it doesn’t fit her saree or spoils her hairdo. A hustband said “Do” – so she did ))
Lyuba. A rare photo where she looks normal ))
Rajasthani dolls that were used for decorations of arcs.
Tourist having a ride in a “royal”-looking rickshaw.
And this is an episode from a soap opera called “Lyuba and her Indian love” ))
In the evening we lit some lights and tried to do light-graphics. We did it badly however something turned out pretty fine.
So, this is how I spent my first Indian New year. After coming back home to Ahmedabad I found a delicious Diwali gift from my boss.
Frankly speaking, I so much want to go to Ukraine to celebrate our New year with my mom and dad and sister, somehow this holiday is a very family holiday for me. But looks like I will celebrate with them the next 2013th, anyway 13 is a very interesting number for our family ))
So far – Happy upcoming New year to you! I know it’s only the middle of november, but time is illusion, you know ;)