Diwali Dhamaka… but where is the ‘mithaas’?
Sorry. But this Diwali, my personal mithaas is under tremendous pressure, and I’m afraid chocolates are just not hitting the sweet spot. There is a serious shortage of mithaas all round, starting with the Chini at our doorstep. No matter that Arunachal Pradesh can boast of an impressive voter turnout ( who can possibly laugh at 72% ), we could do with Chini Kum in that area, as S.M.Krishna will agree. It is a pretty grim situation and distributing laddoos by way of a peace offering is not likely to help matters, when the enemy is baying for blood. Nothing sweet about that. Beijing Duck, anyone? While we get indigestion over this chop- suey and wonder how to tone down the red hot levels in that classic desi dish - Chicken Manchurian - our domestic kitchens are working overtime not to burn the bubbling rabdi.
Brothers Ambani are not quite ready to share a bowl of basundi this festive season, even though Brother Anil has sent out a tulsi branch to Brother Mukesh. Not that investors are complaining – the Sensex reacted to the khush khabar by hitting 17k and beyond, adding much needed mithaas to an otherwise unpalatable share bazaar bhojan.
Bollywood is celebrating Diwali in its own unique fashion – by adding mithaas to the catwalk and modelling for assorted causes, starting with Sallubhai’s Being Human. Couture just got cuter with dinky Aamir Khan strutting his stuff and looking cho chweet as he smiled coyly at front row supporters . Sridevi looked yummier than a hot jalebi as she sparkled on the ramp , her smile reflecting her inner mithaas. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor , his lady love, are mithaas personified as gulab jamun show stoppers. There is such an overdose of sweetness in their love kahani, that fans are worried about the saccharine overdose. The ones feeling entirely left out of the Diwali hi-jinks are the neglected professional models, who have been reduced to decorative props at fashion shows ever since the Bollywood Brigade hi-jacked fashion. The bitter taste in our willowy mannequins’ mouths will require more than a kilo of choccies to neutralize…ooops, size zero models don’t do choccies, how could I forget? There goes their mithaas for the season.
In Maharashtra, we have warring cousins who are in no mood to exchange ‘karanjis’ or ‘anarsey’ ( traditional marathi manoos sweets). Sharad Pawar has made matters worse by declaring Raj Thackeray as the winner of the ‘‘Charisma Awards”. This has instigated Uddhav to hit back at the NCP by pointing out there is no real leader left in that Pawar play. These exchanges cannot be called ‘sweet nothings’. They are ‘bitter somethings’ with a nasty after- taste. Meanwhile Praful Patel is trying his best to sweeten the mood of Air India’s angry unions. Chances are they won’t settle for anything less than their pound of flesh, and not even a mound of mithaas will cool down tempers. Away from the obvious political ramifications of the assembly elections, the Maoists in Maharashtra are celebrating Diwali as only they can – by butchering innocents. Not all the mithaas in the world can alter their mindset, or influence their bloody-minded agenda.
The ‘aam aadmi’ is bewildered and upset this Diwali. Sick of being taken for granted, year in and year out, he is unlikely to be appeased with a box of commercial mithai when what he wants is the entire mithai ka dukaan. With spiraling prices and sugar itself in short supply, he is left holding the howling baby, wondering how to pay the neighbourhood kiraanawalla. Forget bonus-shonus, the aam aadmi wants reassurance that by this time next year, the economy will be back on track. Pranab Babu isn’t saying that convincingly enough… perhaps he is enjoying his Diwali mishti a bit too much to pay attention to the aam aadmi’s grievances. No problem. The aam aadmi’s patience has not run out entirely so far. He is looking hopefully at the Good Sardar, whose sweet temperament wins over most critics – did you not notice how well he and his wife are bonding with Obama and his wife? This goes beyond merely breaking bread together - this is called indulging ones diplomatic sweet tooth. If only the Chinese premier would let them eat cake…. Poorey duniya ki mithaas badh jayegi! Happy Diwali. Diya jalao… ek doosron ko nahi.
It is the last day of Diwali, and I'm feeling rather sad - the festival is over before it began! After Bhaubeej tomorrow night, I'll take the lights and aakash kandeels down... throw the marigold garlands away, remove the rangoli at the door, snuff out the diyas.... you now the drill. It has been a beautiful and meaningful Diwali. I just completed the 'Padwa' rituals with my husband. These involve an elaborate aarti, a fragrant oil bath, seeking his blessings, and exchanging gifts. I had observed my own parents scrupulously adhering to this age-old way of heralding the new year, and I have maintained the tradition in the hope that my children will imbibe it. Fingers crossed.
We treated ourselves to a movie earlier, after spending a couple of days at our home in Alibag. Those lights were reluctantly switched off as well, as we got back to make it for ''Wake up, Sid." Midway through the film, I sent a text msg to Karan Johar congratulating him for producing a spot- on movie that captures the 'badey baap ka beta' syndrome so accurately. Ranbir is adorable as Sid, while Konkona is well... Konkona. She plays herself in every film, and I find her acting most monotonous. If you as ask me , it is the dialogue of '........... Sid ' that scores over all else. The story is pretty flimsy, it is the treatment that works. Good scenes are carved out of material that is pretty mundane. With a lesser actor, the film would have tanked since there are no dramatic highs to hold it together. Ranbir is as fresh and taaza as a farm -picked bhindi. Supriya Pathak as his mother who struggles with her english is sweeter than a roshogulla. Definitely a feel -good, cheerful film, even though I didn't care for the cliche ending. Kashmera Shah as Sonia was delicious. But the film belongs unambiguously to the entirely natural and almost edible Kapoor bachcha. Well done, Sid!