(My wife lighting up for Deepavali – ok, I am kidding, it is not my wife but this is what normally we do at Deepavali night – Picture source:www.didaweb.net/”>
I was over at my cousin’s house on Deepavali night and whilst we were chatting with beers in our hand, one of my uncles remarked that this year Deepavali is just plain boring. Reflecting back now, I realise he was right. Deepavali as I remembered is not the same this year. I was not sure about last year because I was in Ghana on a project assignment. Going over the Deepavali checklist reveals this:-
1. Deepavali preparation
Basically 3 main things to get ready before Deepavali:- new clothes, kuih raya (murukku and all the stuff) and cleaning the house (this is where I become very lazy). Out the above, we managed to complete only 2 – preparing the kuih raya (a must is the “murukku”) and cleaning the house (finally cleaned my room cupboard after putting aside the job for 2 years). It was “hard work” for a guy to help to clean the house but at end of the day, it was worth it (we threw away almost 8 – 9 bags of garbage)
My son got plenty of new clothes (about 7 – 8) but for me and my wife, we had still our old clothes (luckily which was still in pristine condition). I guess rising daily expenses (one being petrol price, another is sundry items prices which miraculously went up RM5 – RM10 more) is to be blamed for the “ikat perut” measures this year
2. Taking leave
I was back to work on 2nd day of Deepavali, catching a lot of surprise (and shocked) stare at my workplace, with a few of my colleagues walking up to me and reminding me that today is 2nd day of Deepavali.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that 3rd day of Deepavali is also the 1st day of Hari Raya. So, why waste one day of annual leave when we are having 2 days off after that (not including Sat & Sun which meant 4 days of sleeping, watching TV, playing computer games and eating “murukkus” – that is way too long)? Further, this is one of the rare occasion when I can wake up late and have a rather leisure drive to work (no traffic jam and less crazy drivers in town)
3. Ang Pow
What started as a Chinese practice has turned into an all Malaysian practice during the festive days these days. It was a moment to watch out for during Deepavali when I was not married (ha, time to make more money from my uncles) but now that I am married, I am now on the other side (being an “uncle” myself) – the side which gives out the “ang pow” (a big ouch on my pockets!). It is not surprising that my son got the most of the “ang pows” this year (The biggest “ang pow” was from me and my wife)
I am not sure about others but as we are growing up, it seems like we want to have bigger and louder firecrackers (picture source: www.hinduonnet.com). Playing with “sparklers” just not that cool anymore (ok, may be cool if using it for do something else like attacking an ant colony).
However, with the ban of firecrackers and an overall decline of firecracker “quality” (they sure don’t make firecrackers as they used to do e.g. rockets that don’t fly that high anymore, sigh), playing with firecrackers seems to be a thing in the past. However, I still find some firecrackers in some of my cousins’ and friends house and so I just “participated” in firing up some for old time sake. I missed the firecracker smoke smell.
5. Visiting friends and family
It is a Malaysian thing to have open house but with Hari Raya looming around the corner, many have taken the opportunity to “balik kampung”. Since my “kampung” is in Klang Valley, I just visited my cousins. Besides, there is really no mood to be moving around (already calculating the petrol price in my mind). Maybe when I move to a new house, I will organise one (hmmm, need to ensure that there is enough beers)
I have taken leave in 2 weeks time for the trip to my in-laws house in Taiping. It is a good thing because I gather there will be less traffic on the highways (since the crazy drivers are back in town) and there will less crowd (I already planned to take my family to Taiping Zoo)
6. Deepavali Specials on TV
Remember the time when you are glued to the TV on Deepavali Eve and you see this “Dunhill Blockbuster mempersembahkan sempena Deepavali…” Ha, that was the good old days when watching “latest” Tamil movies were an activity eagerly waited by all at home. No matter what we were doing then, when the movie starts, we just drop whatever that we are doing and sit down in front of the TV.
Now with Astro’s Channel 6 and 73, we actually was yawning at some of the movies – some repeated (for example: Padayappa but worth watching again for like for the 6th time) and others are not exactly considered as blockbuster material (some people just don’t get it – Kamalahasan in the movie does not necessarily make the movie a blockbuster material). In the end, we ended watching Discovery Channel and HBO – what a way to celebrate Deepavali on the telly!
Yes, it was indeed boring Deepavali this year but perhaps it will be better next year