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Prelude to Deepavali

Posted by Lakshmi

Deepavali eve was spent baking cakes after cakes. The problem with me is that once I start something, I can't seem to stop until I am doggone tired. And so it was on baking day - I baked a Cinnamon and Coffee Bundt Cake which turned out pretty impressive,3 Almond Butter cakes, a moist carrot cake ( would you believe if the cake was actually called 'To die for carrot cake'?)a batch of blueberry muffins,a sugee cake, mango pudding abd sago with coconut milk and black sugar syrup (gula melaka). I did prepare a sweet pastry for the apple pie but I had put it the 'fridge to chill and completely forgot about it.

Afternoon was spent cleaning,cleaning and cleaning. Period.

The best part was towards the late evening. Our annual trips to Klang Town's 'Little India' was something we looked forward to. Driving and parking was,of course,a nightmare but it's on these rare occasions I'm pretty grateful for my Kancil.

Now, imagine this scene - streets filled with a sea of people, milling and jostling about, each trying to do last minute purchases with hardly any space for breathing, the heady scent of jasmine and rose permeating the air, stall holders and pedlars selling a plethora of costumes,accessories, flower garlands, a cornucopia of traditional sweetmeats, cakes and cookies fighting for space among huge bags of murruku, shopkeepers screaming into their microphones trying to auction off their stocks amidst loud music blarring from the speakers, drowning all conversations, makeshift booths providing henna hand decorating service,florist trying to dispose off their flowers in bundles ...the list is not exhaustive ..and this frenzied atmosphere was all part and parcel of the exuberance of Deepavali. To the uninitiated, it might look like a town gone mad but to the celebrants, it was a once a year 'feel good' time.

The highlight and real reason for our jaunt was to see the spectacular display of fireworks at the stroke of midnight, ushering in the Festival of Lights with a big bang right up to the heavens. The whole street and sky was a riot of breathtaking and vibrant display of fireworks with a myriad of colours and shapes. It was like the stars were raining down on you. 'Oh my God, oh my God' was all I could keep saying while straining to see all of them from all angles, so much so that I had a bad neck pain. What a sight to behold and how thoroughly appropriate to start Deepavali, the Festival of Lights indeed.. By now, I was fully invigorated with the Deepavali mood but with two tired kids in tow and having a full day ahead,we finally trudged back to our car.

Driving into Shah Alam was a breeze. The town was as quiet as a churchmouse and as dead as a doornail.

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