Pleasant surprises are always welcome. After spending most of the gloomy, wet thursday studying for the Kinetics mid-term and then finally writing it in the evening, I wanted a break from the monotonous and tedious routine of preparing for exams and studying my ass off. Someone up there did hear my wishes and voila! what followed were two successive days of amazing parties culminating in Diwali celebrations.
After the mid-term, our research group headed to Uncle Julio’s, a mexican grill located quite some distance away. We were celebrating a birthday and two successful PhD thesis defenses. The group was multicultural and multi-ethnic with Turkish, Greek, Korean, American, Indian(me) and Puerto-rican representation. It was so much fun! We(myself and one other member only) started off by hunting for the only vegetarian dishes in a menu full of beef,pork,frog legs and baby octopuses. Photographs were taken, dares were given, new drinks were tried, tubs of nachos were emptied and the conversation just freely flowed. There was exchange of cuisine details ( Paneer Butter Masala, Naans and Butter Chicken are total favourites of everyone around the globe, I discovered). We tested the spice-tolerance of everyone thanks to an awfully spicy pepper included generously in all our dishes. I ate a vegetable Fajita and maybe close to a kilo of nachos. I am never able to do justice to any of the restaurant serving portions here so invariably I packed up half my dinner (which will be my dinner today) and we continued the photo-sessions, the leg pulling, the hand-symbol games and the teasing till the food kinda settled down inside. We then headed to the Italian pastry shop to celebrate a birthday. The pastry shop was one I had seen only in movies. Dimly lit, it had a very pretty and crowded bar and little cute tables with small candles on them. I guess our group of ten was the only non-couple party out there and we headed out to the covered patio which had a fire-grate and logs of wood burning and settled down cosily. There was turkish tea, cinnamon coffee, white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, peanut butter and chocolate cake and so many other varieties ordered by the others. I was asked questions about the caste system of our country, the religion and the festivals and other things which are second nature to us but they look at it with so much curiosity. It was amusing trying to explain the origins of Diwali to everyone. Then there was the whole topic about turkish coffee and the tea-leaves reading which those people are so good at apparently. I tasted it, it was horrid to say the least. No sugar, no milk and the coffee powder is not drained off from the liquid. My facial expressions on drinking that, got everyone rolling in their seats. It was a memorable evening, given many of these people are graduating to take up different professions in different parts of the globe. It was fun,food and frolic at its peak.
The next evening (the day was so sleepy thanks to the sudden chill in all of US with temperatures well in single digits -thankfully positive here) got even better. A couple of guys organized a potluck party on Diwali eve. A friend of mine and I made pulao to contribute to it. The others got curd rice, homemade snacks, gulab jamuns, sabji and the hosts had the drinks, nachos and chips. We had a ball! (Literally all of us kept taking turns bouncing on their gym ball). Jokes apart, it was amazing fun. We played a plethora of games, ranging from a warped version of cricket with a tennis raquet and ball which had rules like if you hit the wall directly, it is out and strict under-shoulder bowling to card games which were so much fun ( all were new to me but I am now in love with them) like Bluff and 5 Carder. We played Uno, Clue and the hosts had a dart board in their living room which we enjoyed playing and distracting the members of the opposite team. I am no good at it since my aim is horribly pathetic. I was happy to even touch the board with my dart! 😛 Food was in plenty, so were the desserts and so was the teasing,leg pulling and laughing. A very very memorable diwali party. For once, we all forgot everything about academics or exams and just had fun.
(Long post I know, but this is for me to read later -when I’m old and jobless perhaps! :P). Sometimes, no-plans become amazing plans. We all woke up late (the other roomies were in other parties themselves) and there was an impromptu enthusiasm to cook in all of us. We split up the dishes ( I made pulao – Ok, I know I’m becoming some expert in making it or something; Ramya and Pallavi made the Shira barfi and raita ; Richa made chole and Priyanka made kheer) We did a small Lakshmi Puja after my elaborate oil bath and then dug into the food! Awesome it was! A sweet and warm, homely Diwali!
It is freezing outside, close to 4 degrees and the windchill making it 0 and cloudy and windy. I have a midterm on tuesday (sigh!) and one more the week after. Somehow, I’m recharged and raring to go. Festivals do recharge you emotionally!
On that note ( to all those to stuck with me and actually read the entire thing and to everyone else as well)
HAPPY DIWALI! 😀
PS: Some pics are here, more will be added later!