Saturday, November 24, 2007

Welcome Winters

November is about to end, and there is a wintry excitement in the air. Wintry-excitement might sound like an oxymoron to the western garden bloggers, considering the dull dreary winters there, but the North Indian summers are so exasperating that one doesn’t mind the chill of winter air-at least I don’t. Sun is not scorching anymore...though still shining brightly. Roses are enjoying the drop in temperature to the fullest, rewarding my garden with exuberant blooms. Ornamental Peppers are turning a fiery shade of fiery as their taste. The Garlic vine or Cydista aequinoctialis ,a harbinger of winters, blooms, spraying its very mild, and if I may add, not-so-pleasant garlicky aroma to the surroundings; Marigold's blooming time is perfect.It forms an integral part of Indian festive decorations. Lady of the Night, or Cestrum Nocturnum spreads its intoxicating aroma as the night falls. Bougainvillea basks in the sunshine.... Poinsetttia gearing up my garden for Christmas. And how can I forget the 'Mums' of Garden, Chrysanthemums, blooming in myriad shades and colours. The green leafy veggies, like mustard, fenugreek, spinach, ready for harvest; All in all, my plants are very excited about the coming winters...and I am excited too!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Festive Fever

It has been an awfully long time since my last post, the reason being my preoccupation with the festival season which had me on my toes, not allowing much time for anything other than sundry cleaning works, shopping, and other household chores. The good thing about all these festivals and accompanying festivities is that, although tedious, you have to get on with the onerous task of cleaning the house; something which I meticulously avoid till pushed to the wall. Autumn is almost fully booked with various rituals and festivals. Diwali is the most important festival in the Hindu calendar.The word Diwali is derived from the word Deepavali that means "a row of lights". Before Diwali the house is spring cleaned and white washed. On Diwali day itself, the house is adorned with marigold flowers, colourful rangoli patterns are made on the main entrance and sweets are exchanged among acquaintances and friends. As the night falls, preparations are made for LakshmiPooja or the worship of Goddess Lakshmi-Goddess of wealth and prosperity.It is believed that Goddess Laxmi will visit the cleanest house first. After the puja, rows of earthen lamps and candles are lit to usher in light on the dark no moon night. Then crackers are bursted without which Diwali festivities are incomplete. This part of the celebration is the main attraction for children for which they wait eagerly the whole day.With the bursting of crackers and fireworks Diwali celebrations come to an end. Diwali is a festival which is celebrated with equal fervour throughout the country and many parts of world, among all age groups irrespective of caste,creed and socio-economic background. Diwali date comes 20 days after the popular festival of Dussehra or Vijaya Dashmi and marks the return of mythological lord Rama from exile after defeating the ‘Demon king’ Ravana. The fall of Ravana is celebrated as Dussehra and on this day huge effigies of Ravana, filled with firecrackers, are burned all over the country. Over with the festivals of Dussehra and Diwali, and with Christmas and New Year to look forward to, I am back in routine to my garden in company of my ‘a little grown up’ little one, and Bruno.


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