Lighting a deepam

It is Karthigai deepam today.  And a bit of nostalgia time.  I’m thinking of the rows of  agal vilakkus that decorated  every house in the Colony where we grew up.  Well almost all. One of our neighbours lit candles instead and how we looked down on this unauthenticity 🙂

Our house had many terraces and it was assembly -line work putting up rows of lamps on each terrace wall under the supervison of Amma.   The lamps  were brought out a week before the festival, cleaned and dried in the sun. Wicks had to be prepared from cotton. One person would be laying the wicks in the lamps, another would fill them with oil,  another would light them; someone would arrange them in trays and we, the most agile and bursting with self-importance would carry them up carefully and lay them out in rows on the walls.

Of course, we had to spend some time relighting  them as the wind blew them out. Then we would go for a walk around the neighbourhood to see all the houses beautifully, magically, lit up.  It was a very special festival.

Now, in  this windy place, I don’t   make the effort to light any lamps outdoors.  But just a few , inside.

This year, I actually lit those very decorative, painted  lamps that I have been hoarding for so many years .





Tiruvannamalai still remains as one of those places on my wish list.

Maybe one year, I will land up at Tiruvannamalai to actually see that giant lamp  being lit.


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