That morning was unusually calm. The marigolds that decked the front door had wilted away. I could still sniff the gun powder in the early morning breeze. The oil from the diyas had left a mark on my expensive floor tiles. The color of the rangoli had bled into each other. The municipality workers were back on the streets sweeping tattered papers and remnants of the crackers. Moti the neighborhood street dog was so much at peace with himself after yesterdays bombastic night. The garlands of electric lights on the opposite balcony swayed gently in the morning breeze.
Although I am not a very traditional person I still love to light up diyas instead of those electric light garlands. Yes I like those earthy rustic ones. Each Diwali when I light those oil lamps, there is a storm of emotions that stir up within me.
Some how Diwali is not quite the same ...... things have changed for the better or for the worse. I just buy enough diyas to deck up the tiny winy balconies of my apartment in this distant city that I call home...... not like hundreds of them that my grandma used to buy every Diwali to light up our ancestral home. I miss washing those diyas in buckets of water and that earthy smell.
The giggles of cousins in the courtyard has faded away with passing years. So have the clanking of the cauldrons that were usually taken out during festive season from the attic for making huge batches of 'boondi ladoos' and namkeens. Now there is no hurry to pack and distribute these goodies to the neighbors.
I simply make a trip to the neighborhood shop to pick up some dry fruit packets. Things are much more convenient than they used to be ...... but still I am not enjoying this easy life. I am missing those cumbersome afternoons when the women of the house would make batches of boondi soaked in sugar syrup and we little girls trying to shape the warm boondies into ladoos with our tiny hands.
I miss making those trips to the neighborhood darzi for getting that simple dress stitched ........ I feel I had rejoiced wearing that simple dress more than the designer ones I own today.
Somehow I felt more of a spectator than a participant in the festival this year.
Yes I did wear festive clothes and I was happy to meet with people but somewhere inside I don't quite get it. May be I am just a little weird !!
Preparation Time - 30 Minutes
Serves - 4
Paneer/ Cottage Cheese cubed - 2 cups
Spinach Leaves shredded - 3 cups
Garlic Minced - 4 tsp
Finely chopped onion - 1/2 cup
Finely Chopped Green Chillies - 2
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1 big pinch
Clarified butter - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Method of Preparation
1. Heat about 1tbsp of clarified butter/ ghee in a kadhai. When the oil gets warm add minced garlic to it. Reduce the flame and stir constantly to make sure that the garlic doesn't get burnt.
2. Now add the chopped onions and green chillies. Add salt and turmeric. Cook till the onions get mushy and have no raw smell.
3. Add in the shredded spinach leaves and mix well. Now add the cubed paneer cubes. Sir intermittently for about 5 minutes.
4. Lastly add garam masala.
Serve with any bread/ flat indian bread. You could also make a sandwich with this filling.