Diwali – the festival of lights, one of the key festivals for Indians and an excuse to indulge by way of food, drinks, gambling and gifts – go figure. It’s party time for weeks on end. In India there is a festive mood, open houses, food galore, fire crackers and beautifully lit up houses.
What I especially love is the fact that people from all income levels go all out and light up their houses with diyas (tea light candles made with clay). I feel nostalgic just reminiscing, and the aroma of the smoke from all the lights makes me so happy.
Here in San Francisco I have a party every year and I cook copious amounts of food and really get into the décor. There are usually 50 people in my not so large house. I am always complaining as I plan, swearing that it will be my last time doing this but in the end it’s all so worth it and nothing makes me happier.
Planning of the party is always difficult as I try to recreate memories from my childhood in India. I spend countless hours on Pinterest, Etsy and different stores trying to find props that will fit with my vision. As we get closer the stress and the excitement builds. One of must-have decorations is Rangoli which is an art form in which patterns are created on the floor with colored powder, flowers, and rice. It is done during festivals and supposed to bring good luck. I usually make Rangoli with colored powder but this time I used a combination of flowers and lentils. I was quite happy with the end result and it became the center piece for my dining table.