As I sit cross legged on my couch facing my laptop, my hennaed fingers and well-manicured hands are striking on the key board making my gold bangles to jingle sweetly as I concentrate on my blog post. Its past 11pm on a Karwachauth night but I can’t sleep due to overeating and exhaustion.
Last few days have been extremely busy with lot of family gatherings and celebrations. We are one of the very rare and lucky Indian families in America that get the best of both the worlds. We have a luxury of living in USA and are yet surrounded by all our families, cousins and extended family with an exception of handful few. Most are just 5-10 miles away from us.
We are one of the very few our generation Indians here in the states, that do not feel homesick around festivals as we have almost all our immediate family here except my brother. He is the one I miss very dearly every year around the Holidays.
Many years ago, festivals felt very different to me as a new bride, in a foreign land away from my friends and family. Hence, I can totally relate to my Desi friends here in USA, when they express sadness over missing their families around festivals and other special occasions. Things just feel a little less warm and comforting when families are far away.
This Karwachauth was special for my mother in law and me for reasons which I think only we two will understand the best.
Our celebrations started with a “Mehndi Ki Raat” two days before the Karwachauth!
I was more thrilled about the Mehndi function then the Karwachauth itself. I mean what is not to love about partying with your girlfriends and family over lip smacking food, naughty games and our very own Henna Artists! My Sis In-Law and I had spent few days planning all the details for this event and it sure was a great hit with every age group.
Outfit for Mehndi Ki Raat:
I found myself in a “I have nothing festive to wear situation that screams Mehndi” and I was getting super late. I wanted something chic and comfortable yet festive.
( “Flashbacked to a night before over a dinner table with my In-laws”)
Me: Mom what are you wearing tomorrow? We should bring one of the gifts home and win something …Kalsi Khaandaan Ki Izzat Ka Sawal Hai (it’s about the family’s respect…jokingly)
Mom In-Law: Not sure yet…Green is the Shagun of mehndi so I might wear something green.
Me: Hmm ok good…. I will wear a salwar kameez, I hope that is more than enough?
Mom In-Law: Yeah…do not worry, wear anything Indian.
“Back to Present as I stood blank in my closet trying to pick an outfit”
Me to Self: Nothing among my ethnic wear screams green except this green dress in my closet. Should I wear a dress? No…She said Ethnic wear…. hmmm what if I can make it Ethnic?
I paired a beautiful short green dress with a flowery Patiala Salwar and voila I had a “Green Ethnic Dress”!!
As I suspected she forgot about me being late and the only thing she noticed was her Bahu (Daughter in-law) took note and was dressed in green for the occasion. She did not insist I do but I still did! Hurray… I just scored 10/10 with her this Karwachauth!
This made me realize that sometimes small gestures in a relationship is all that is needed. Isn’t this what festivals are all about? Is this what grandma meant when she said it all boils down to love, affection and care? May be…(you will have to read my last year’s blog to understand what I mean 😉 )
Anyways, we quickly rushed out and Ricky played a perfect driver driving us to the venue while mum and I indulged in our never ending gossip. We have my Dad In-Law on or hit list this time. He is a workaholic and is working this Sunday too, not because he is required to but because he wants to! Aghh…more on that some other day…. I think he really needs some tough love on this front.
Our Mehndi function started with a scrumptious lunch. It was a delicious spread of Indian delicacies like Dahi Bhalle, Chaat Papadi, Kachori, Aaloo Tikki, Aaloo Rolls and Paneer Pasta.
There were lot of fun games that kept us entertained and excited. My favorite was pass the cushion for the very obvious reasons that – I bagged the best price for this game!
(Opened it later at night)
It was quite embarrassing to be asked to perform on an infamously famous Bollywood Song “Sheila Ki Jawani” in front of my Mom In-Law and Ricky’s Aunts but I think I managed just fine without causing much damage to my reputation of a sanskari Bahu. Sorry there is no video :). All in all the evening was full of fun & naughtiness. Do not miss out the video!
(My Henna )
My Sis In-Law and I sat down to get our Henna done at around 7:15pm much to Ricky and my Bro-In-Law’s disappointment as they just returned from watching a game and were ready to go out and celebrate Seahawks win with their Chikas! Now how could we Chikas say NO to that?
We quickly dried our mehndi and rushed out the door after quickly scrapping of our Hennas. Part of me was bummed that I was scrapping of my Henna so soon but a bigger part of me so wanted to just get out in fresh air. We called it a night at 12am after some much needed fun with our partners in crime aka my Sis & Bro-In-Law.
Karwachauth on Tuesday was not as eventful. Feasted on yummy Sargi cooked by my Mom & Dad In-Law at 6am. Celebrated in the evening by listening to Karwachauth Katha (Prayer Song) at home with my Mom-In-Law.
Meanwhile, Dad In-Law heated up some milk for us and kept pouring our cups lovingly after the Katha. No… with him just means a little more :)…Isn’t he adorable?
October brings in thick clouds and rain for Seattle, hence there is no moon sighting on Karwachauth. In the past we have just had to look in the direction of Moon and complete our rituals. However, this was a first year in last 10 years of me observing Karvachauth that we actually saw Moon!
I told you that this Karwachauth was very special for us Kalsi Ladies!
Every nation in the world has its own unique character, manifested by its culture, and festivals are regarded as cultural heritage. It is a very important part of any and every culture. Can you imagine a life without one? Impossible, right? They’re often reasons for bringing the families together and celebrating the very spirit of mankind. We were made to spread happiness and not hatred in this world – Only if Trump could understand that.
Sometimes I wish that human beings carried this spirit through to their everyday life and their relationships. Quality of Life would be so much better if we treated each day as a special day.
Signing off with a hope that every day is as beautiful as this one was and I continue to make some great memories and surround myself with positive thoughts and positive people.