As a Tamilian, I have never been able to celebrate Deepavali as a festival of lights. In my mind, it is Karthigai that I associate with rows and rows of lamps. Growing up, I was used to the practice of placing lamps at the front entrance during the month of Karthigai, with all of us eagerly counting down to the grand finale. And a lot of times, to my disappointment, the calendar that my clan follows would mark the Karthigai festival a day or two later than when the rest of the world celebrated. Despite that, it was a joy being part of the festivity – wearing pattu pavadai, setting the lamps with oil and thiri, arranging them in the living room, at the entrance, and even the bathrooms and constantly guarding them from the breeze. Not to mention the pride in my heart as I step back and take a look at the glowing house. Somehow my house seemed to always sparkle brighter than rest of houses in my street. That was my past. My childhood.
What about my present? The practice of placing the lamps at the front entrance has not stuck with me. But I do take out my lamps, and candleholders and arrange them on the mantle.I try to recite as much Kandha Sashti, one of my favorite slokams, as I can. Normally making bakshanam does not take a priority in my religious routine. This year, on a whim, I tried my hands on making pori urundai. “It’s sweet but not too sweet”, said the husband, and polished two to three urandais, which I am taking as a compliment.
On that note, Happy Karthigai to you all. Let the light in you shine brightly, now and always.