Mumbaikars prepare for Diwali as election dust settles

imagesMUMBAI : Light and colour have brightened the cityscape as Mumbaikars prepare to celebrate Diwali, the most important festival of the Hindu calendar next week. The five-day festival begins with Dhanteras October 21 followed by Narak Chaturdashi on October 22. The main ceremony of Lakshmi Pujan takes place October 23, which incidentally, also witnesses a solar eclipse this year. 

The fourth day of festivities is reserved for Govardhan Puja while the final day October 25 will see the heartwarming ceremony of Bhai Dooj. Shopping for household items picked up pace Saturday as families headed out to buy clothes, lanterns, diyas and rangoli. Maharashtrian households are utilising the weekend to prepare ‘faral’ or homemade snacks. “My wife takes up karanji first because it is a laborious recipe. The children find little time to help but I pitch in as she cooks besan and rava laddoo, chivda and chakli,” says the elderly Sudhakar Dhamne who lives in Goregaon. An unusual sight unfolds at the New Bharat Hindu Bakery in Kalachowkie as long queues of women carrying covered baking trays line up outside the store. The bakery offers a unique service to customers during Diwali by allowing them to bake homemade cookies and biscuits in its oven. 

Owner Shyam Pokle says, “Customers knead the dough at home and lay the nankhatais on a baking tray which my workers place in our oven. Women prefer to mix the ingredients at home using raisins, pure butter or ghee rather than buy readymade foodstuff. They watch cookery shows on television and try their hand. Around 1,000 customers utilise our services from eight or ten days before Diwali.” Hindu Bakery charges a flat fee of Rs 30 per tray, irrespective of the number of cookies it contains. “During Diwali the sale of our own products like toast butter and khari biscuits reduces slightly so this is a good way to keep the labourers occupied and earn a small profit as well,” Pokle says. Meanwhile, an organisation named Rangvalli which specialises in rangoli training has been organising a series of workshops across Andheri, Kalyan and Thane in the run-up to Diwali. Sunday’s class will focus on the carpet rangoli, whose large dimension makes it spectacularly suited to vast spaces. Siddhivinayak temple has also announced a rangoli competition on the theme of ‘Deepotsav’ October 20. Each participant will be allotted a patch of 3ft x 2ft to display his skill and the drawing material will be provided by the temple.

Source: The Times of India