I was walking by Arya Gowda road and found mound of clay diyas on the roadside as far I could see. I was really curious; to see various shapes and sizes of diyas this year. At the same time mildly hesitant to strike a conversation with the vendor. Take my advice; they are either extremely friendly or weirdly arrogant. After a great debate, I went for a middle aged woman with a kind face and decided to enquire about the price (with a mental note to bargain this time at least if at all I decide to buy). As soon as I went near her cart she extended me a very warm welcome making me feel like a privileged customer. I shooed away my inhibition and went about asking the prices. Believe me, she was highly secretive about the prices and started packing everything I enquired about. I kept asking her for the prices and she kept skipping it but promptly packing diyas. It cannot get any creepier. Ok it can!!! She started crying all of a sudden and started giving me a detail account of her husband’s health issues, medical expenses and what not?? There goes my idea of bargaining and I ended up buying everything she packed.
I kept regretting my decision to enquire about the prices at the first place and I just remembered the Uruli I got as a gift for Onam, it was hand painted by my husband’s colleague and I was all praises for it. I decided to try it on diyas this time. This is one of my favourite festivals and this time I decided to take extra care to make it extra special for me and for others. I rushed to the nearest store got acrylic pearl kit and some brushes. The beat of excitement stepped up a level… I tucked my daughter into her bed and started painting my first diya. It was UGLY. It seriously was (Did you think i will post the ugly one’s picture?? :)) .
I dropped my idea of gifting them and continued painting. The third one was decent enough to let my husband see it. He was so worried to see me locked inside a room for almost an hour and was relieved to see me sane and smiling. He understood my “DIYA PHASE” By the time I finished all thirty diyas, I had five good looking pairs. I decided to gift the better looking diyas to my friends and relatives and to retain the rest especially my first ugly one. It kind of got into my husband’s favourite list…
Boring version goes like this…
It is the month of December, a month to celebrate the Festival of Lights (better known to Tamilians as Karthigai Deepam). For people who don’t know about Karthigai deepam – This special occasion is celebrated by lighting lamps (Agal Vilaku/Diya) that are made of clay. And you decorate your home with various patterns of lamps. It gets quite interesting once you tune yourself into the right mood.
TO start off with
- Dunk clay diyas in a pot of water for 2 hours(a couple of days ahead)so that it doesn’t absorb too much of oil
- Dry them completely
- On the day of celebrations arrange them in the pooja room and Apply kungumam
- Fill the lamps with oil and leave a cotton thread (Thiri Nool)
- Light and decorate them how you want it.
I say, ENOUGH WITH THE LECTURE. I don’t want to ramble on for pages. This is the basic, for a clearer picture you can always Google it. 😉