Tag: home

What’s your happy place?

What’s your happy place?

Home. That’s my happy place. 

No matter where I go, no matter who I am with, my happy place is, and will always be my home. I have, in the past written about what home means to me. It needn’t be the place I grew up in, it needn’t be the first home I bought with my husband or the place I brought the twins home to – it’s just the place I call home now, at this moment.

Home was sometimes in the old city with a small garden and a large courtyard where sparrows chirped in the huge malti creeper. Sometimes it was the gorgeous high-ceilinged bungalow in the University campus where my parents were professors. It might have been my spacious hostel room in Delhi which I made mine with a mattress on the floor and fresh flowers in a vase. In Bombay, it was a tiny shared room with Shah Rukh Khan posters on a makeshift thermacol soft board and a full-sized mirror which I lugged in along with my roomie from many stations away on a local train.

It might have been the tiny one-room apartment I moved into with my husband or the many others I’ve had ever since.

No matter how big or small it has been, no matter which city it has been in, but my home has always been my happy place.

Even when I’m on the best holiday ever, after a point, home is where I want to be. Surrounded by my disorganised bookshelves with that tall lamp I bought on a whim, the rug I got during a Diwali discount sale, a few plants in mismatched pots that have survived despite the irregular attention I give them – yeah, that’s my happy place.

I cannot deny that the people at home have some part in making it my happy place but as I stand on the brink of becoming an empty-nester I’m hoping the place itself will be some kind of comfort and will see me through, when the children have flown the nest.

Joining in Linda’s SoCS prompt — “happy place.” Write the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “happy place.” Drop by her site for details on how this works.


Meri wali Diwali

Meri wali Diwali

Diwali to me has always meant being home. No matter where I worked, no matter how much the work pressure, Diwali would see me braving crowded trains, sometimes sitting through the entire 26 hour journey, to my parents.
Home, now is with the Husband and kids. The celebrations aren’t the same too. Just as much fun, but in a different way.
I clean (yeah I do that sometimes) and so do the kids. We buy pretty knick-knacks. N begins to think up rangoli designs way in advance and H always makes a late entry and wants to make one too. The diyas are bought, washed, dried and painted. The large ceremonial pot is cleaned and filled with water ready for flowers and floating candles. Gifts for dear friends are picked with care and are kept wrapped and ready. I go hunting for Ganesh-Lakshmi idols. In this part of the country solo Lakshmi idols seem to be the norm but back home the two gods were inseparable. For years I thought Ganesh and Lakshmi were a couple, wondering where Vishnu ji fitted in the whole picture!
Lunch that day is frill-free because cooking is not my forte. I try to stick to what I can handle – large chunks of paneer in tomato gravy, potatoes fried a golden brown, hot puffed puris and soft dahi wadas with tamarind-jaggery chutney. Basic stuff but it works for us. I make up by laying out the table as prettily as I can with my best china. Oh I also have the mandatory jimikand that makes your tongue tingle crazily but is must-have on Diwali lest you be reborn as a chhuchhundar
The husband fusses round putting up the lights and then goes mithai shopping with the kids. He completely forgets that he’s a diabetic and buys much more than we can consume. I pretend to be angry but I don’t really mind because I know we’ll be sick of them before the week is through.
In the evening we set out the idols and the silver coins, the flowers and the diyas. After we light the diyas we have a small puja ending with an aarti. I gave up most of the other rituals because I don’t have a knack for them. I simply cannot remember them all and I got tired of calling up my mom every year. I do try though, because it would be a pity if H and N lost touch with all that’s traditional.
After the puja we carry the diyas and place one in each of the rooms, with the hope that our home and our lives are forever lit up with their radiance. Then we’re off to visit friends, exchange mithais and gifts and watch the fireworks.
Later at night, we switch off all the lights and sit amidst the flickering  diyas and twinkling lanterns. We watch as the skies light up periodically in a shower of fireworks with H and N flitting from window to window calling out to come ‘see this one’. 
It is truly beautiful.
That is what I am grateful this festive season – that I can celebrate Diwali exactly the way I want. I love that I have complete liberty to weed out all I don’t like – the must-be-done-cooking, the craziness of spring cleaning, the long drawn out puja, the mandatory gifting – all of those things that stress me out and make me not want to celebrate at all.
That leaves me with only the good parts, surrounded by the warmth of family and friends, and makes me welcome Diwali with all my heart, just how it should be.

What’s your Diwali like? What are are the things you’ve done away with or added on?