It’s Diwali!! The festival of lights and commemoration of the victory of good over evil. Despite the deeper meaning of discovering our ‘inner light’, really all we really care about is the opportunity to dress up, stuff our faces and be merry with family and friends. I dig through my cupboard to find the glitziest outfit blaring with colors and sequins. Run to my parents’ place to indulge in a festive breakfast of deep-fried puris and mix veg korma with a side of sweet raw mango pickle- the perfectly simple meal that can send you into a blissful coma. I then settle down with a ton of soaked almonds and begin peeling away. My efficiency is diluted by the latest Tamil movie playing on the television. After three hours I’m hungry again. Proceed to wake up my sister. My husband is back home early and my friend is over as well. Lunch is served!! Rasam, hot white rice, pickle and punjabi chicken curry (not for me-sob) and crispy papad. I reach the point where I’m just eating for the sake of it. After resting some more I head to the kitchen to watch my mum commence the cooking of the almond burfi. This is a three hour process of stirring a pot of pureed almonds while intermittently adding doses of ghee. She hasn’t made this in years but my insistence at having it this year has propelled her into this arm-wrenching task. I pretend to help but really I’m just there to soak in the smells and taste tests. Yes now the cardamom and saffron have gone in. Can’t wait. I start working on a simpler recipe of sweet coconut balls. My dog Poncho has been hovering around hoping to sneak a lick of some fallen ingredients. His efforts are rewarded with a pool of dripping condensed milk.

The day is almost over. We all huddle together for a family portrait. One of the sucky things about pictures are that while they capture and freeze a day of happiness, they are also a reminder of all the things that have changed.

Togetherness and sweets.