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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Diwali ..aai

 23 October 2014 

It is Diwali.... the morning of Naraka Chaturdashi, and I make another futile attempt to wake up the children for the Abhyanga snan . I give up .

I help myself to a coffee and the Diwali 'faraal' and cannot but think of the excitement of the Diwali of my childhood.

Most Diwali vacations were spent at my aunt's place in Pune and some with my parents at our home.
Home was Goregaon. A three storeyed building. A one room kitchen self contained unit. Eight such units per floor and a common balcony running outside.

The neighbours were addressed as Kaaki, Maami, Manjuchya aai, and my mum - Ashu chi aaai. And there was this family, the Dalvi family. We were more than just neighbours. I addressed Mrs Dalvi as Aaai. Aai was not just an epithet I used for her.. she was my aai in every sense of the word. She was my aai, and my mum - my amma.

Diwali, meant running up to aai's house each evening to see what faraal she had rustled up in the afternoon while I was away at school. Aai usually prepared the bhajnichi chakli, chiwda karanji and besanache laadoo.

She belonged to the CKP community... the Chandraseniya Kayashtha Prabhu community. Amongst them, the karanji was called the Kanola...... कानोला . It used to be my favourite sweet. And why not..... a well puffed up karanji, flaky, filled with the goodness of khava, charoli, bedaane, coconut and sugar... Ummmm !!!

"आई मला करंजी दे " , i would ask . Her husband, whom i called Kaka, would tell aai, "आहो, आशु ला कानोला द्या " and to me he would say, "करंजी नव्हे, कानोला म्हण ". I would diligently repeat after him...." आई कानोला दे ना "

Kaka would be waiting for this moment. He would immediately wet my ear lobes with water and say , " हा घे , कान ओला " and would laugh a hearty laugh.

Aai's Chaklis were another story. She prepared the bhajani chya chaklya. Her chaklis were huge with many spirals running across each. but her chakils though full of flavour , would never crisp up.
She would stare down at me unamused as i uncoiled the chakli into a horizontal., and proceed to cut them into finger long bits . I would dip one end in her cup of tea and then suck from the other end screaming excitedly... "आई चकली मस्त आहे… हा बघ माझा straw "

a धपाटा would land squarely and promptly on my back -"गधडे, नीट खा ती चकली ", she would say.


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