Deepavali 2009-a memorable one 25/10/2010

I noticed a flurry of activity as the festival of Deepavali approached, with women going on shopping sprees in instalments. The first round I guess was more for window shopping followed by comparison of notes among women regarding the range and prices offered by various shops. Then the actual shopping began with women thronging shops mostly situated in T Nagar, braving a stampede, and coming out, or rather pushed out, looking all dishevelled and confused, tightly clutching large packets close to their chest. A visit to the numerous sweetmeat shops, I found, was normally reserved for the festival eve.

Not one so adventurous as to survive a stampede, I chose a nondescript shop to buy a saree for Deepavali. I was out within minutes having purchased a beautiful salmon pink saree (I didn’t care what the fabric was since the shade was too alluring and the price was reasonable). Next I headed to one of the reputed sweetmeat shops and the long queues there alarmed me. I knew I had to spend a minimum of half-an-hour for  my turn.  I proceeded to try out another one and found the scene was no better. My experience at the third shop was worse because the door was slightly opened for people to exit and prevent any customers to enter.

Back home I thought it was best to prepare whatever sweets I could and managed to produce some shapeless, formless pure ghee sweets. I reasoned to myself that a sweet is a sweet and giving it a name was not important.

Aye, what a pretty saree you are wearing? Where did you pick it up from, asked my niece who came along with a few of her friends on Deepavali morning. Before I could answer, she reeled out two or three names of leading shops. Soon they were making a guess at the price, it could be not less than Rs 3,000, said one. No, it could be even more, said another. Meanwhile, a few friends trooped in to greet us with sweet packets. They too complimented me on the rich look of my saree  and concluded it must have cost a fortune considering the texture.

I offered the homemade sweets a little apologetically, confessing my inability at the art of making delicacies.

Once they all left, I read the name of the shop the carton of sweets bore. All the packets seemed to have been purchased from the same shop, a very reputed one, I noticed. I dug into one of the assorted sweets, and winced. It dawned on me that even reputed shops sell “second quality” of assorted sweets at a “special” price meant to be given as “gifts”.

Do they care about the consequences of consuming these, I wondered(having experienced them)  The sweets I prepared may not have looked attractive , but at least they were harmless, I prided myself at the thought.

N Meera Raghavendra Rao

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4 thoughts on “Deepavali 2009-a memorable one 25/10/2010

  1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    Any day I would accept and consume with gusto your home made sweets however unattractive they might seem, rather than the commercially produced ones. I envy your guests.

    The one-upmanship games of impressing people by wearing sarees which makes them go green with envy is familiar to me, since I have a sister and a spouse and earlier a mother playing them. Innocuous pleasures alright ! Nobody is killing anybody. No matter how expensive and big a wardrobe you have, as a woman it is tantalizingly painful to see a saree that you do not possess, draping the body of another woman. But ofcourse you are not like that. Your proclivities are more intellectual.

    1. Your observation is right but I feel even intellectual women love to discuss sarees and jewellery and perhaps flaunt them too .The difference however is food for thought forms their priority ,sarees and accessories come next!

      1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

        You are right. What I am about to say is for the readers of your site. The existential dilemma confronting himan beings is : To Have or To be.

        To have a good holiday/festival, rather than a goods-holiday, remember first of all that, the good life comes from doing things, not from having them. Look back at your own experience and it’s almost sure to verify what Social Science research has demonstrated over and over : we get far more lasting pleasure and satisfaction from life experiences than we do from material possessions.

        There are compelling reasons for this. Experiences (unlike most material goods) become more valuable over time, giving us pleasure in the memories we have – and the stories that we tell – about them. Then, too, experiences aren’t nearly as likely to disappoint or lead to regret as material goods. Because they’re unique to us, experiences aren’t usually subject to negative comparisons, but this can easily happen with material goods – when, for example, somebody else gets a bigger, nicer, newer, more expensive, or in some other way better mousetrap than yours.

        Finally, experiences tend to be shared, whereas acquiring things is more often a solo act. We’ll go on talking at length, if our listener is interested, about a movie we’ve seen or a trip we’ve taken. How often do we have as much to say – or get a willing ear – when we talk about our latest gadgets,car, sarees or jewellery ?

        The moral of all this is that it is better to spend your money on sight seeing trips and social get togethers than on material goods.

  2. The last lines are golden words worth reiterating, we can internalise our experiences and delight in sharing with like minded listeners.Social get- togethers give us that necessary exposure and make us better human beings in the process.
    During all our travels within and outside the country ,I have spent more time site seeing and interacting with people and minimum time shopping and realised the wisdom of doing so.

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