With Diwali just round the corner all of you must be ready to receive Goddess Laxmi into your homes. For the past several months I’ve been getting my house in order and have had carpenters and painters and electrician getting things together. Now only the last bit is left – the polishing and upholstery but the workmen are busy and have promised to come after Diwali to finish off the rest of the job.
So now I can get down to start planning my Diwali Celebrations.
Planning is key
As with everything in life, planning is key to a perfect celebration. So get down a paper and pen and start noting down what needs to be done. Check lists are a perfect way to start any jobs to be done.
Once you’ve made a check list, then make a timeline and plan out how much time you will need for each job. House cleaning takes a lot of time so it should be broken down room by room allotting a specific time each day to do each room so that you can continue with the rest of your work while doing this additional job.
Make a check list of all the gifts that you need to plan for. Have you taken advantage of the pre-Diwali sales or the July sales and bought gifts ahead of time? If you have already been smart enough to plan your gifts all year round, you can easily save yourself the last minute bother of running around for a gift.
We have a custom in Mumbai of tipping all our society staff, postmen and servants for Diwali. Our Society actually hands out a list of all the staff so that we don’t have to wonder who is and who is not genuine. It also helps to keep track of the people who have been paid. It is a good idea to keep a check list of all the people you intend giving money to.
Prepare in advance
But Diwali is a family celebration – one where you get together with your loved ones and share happy moments over food and chitter chatter. So what have you planned this Diwali?
Are you going to celebrate with just your immediate family in your home?
Are you making it a big family bash with more uncles and aunts joining in?
Are you being invited to their homes?
Are you going on a holiday?
Whichever way you are planning to celebrate the festival, you must prepare in advance to avoid last minute disappointment. Fares of even trains these days go up closer to the date of travel so you would be wise to book well ahead.
If you are planning to call family, make sure you don’t leave anyone out and also plan to have one or two unexpected people landing up. Plan our your menus, and decide how you are going to go about it –
Are you going to cater from outside? In which case you have to plan your caterer or order the food in advance and make sure that you can pick it all up without getting frazzled.
Cooking at home
For me, there’s nothing like celebrating Diwali at home. Calling family and enjoying the rituals of lighting lamps, having perfumed baths, gifting gifts and mending fences and bridging generations.
Finally, there’s nothing like making Diwali sweets at home. Or for that matter even cooking the whole meal at home. But that takes a lot of effort especially if you are a working woman. It needs meticulous planning in terms of organising ingredients and cooking ahead of time. There are certain dishes that taste best only when made really fresh while there are some that are better with age.
Starting out with traditional sweets, I start making them just two days in advance so that they retain their freshness and moistness. Karanji stuffed with fresh coconut, laddoos made with pure ghee and chaklis fried to a crisp are a must for every Diwali. I also love making a deep fried chivda with plenty of cashews and peanuts and slivers of crunchy fried dried coconut. On the actual days of Diwali, I actually keep these sweets in bowls around the house so that people can munch them on the go. Besides, my laddoos wrapped in chocolate wrappers add to the festive touch with their jewel like appearance.
But holidays are meant to be enjoyable and stress free so plan your days well, plan your menus well and you will have the perfect Diwali!