In a small town of Maharashtra, Janaki, a traditional yet modern homemaker, lived a simple and quotidian middle class life. Janaki was the third and the youngest daughter to her parents and lived in the same city, happily taking care of two homes, her own and that of her old parents’, giving everyone great care and never fidgeting to share a smile.
But during the months that followed, everything became different.
Her father left them and her mother faced loneliness. Her mother had to choose whether she could stay with one of her children’s family or in her own lonesome home. Janaki would often suggest her mother to make herself busy or have more friends around in the locality. She would primarily insist her to indulge in things that made her happy. Janaki was persuaded by her mother not to worry and was already busy into many social activities, various family gatherings and was still very playful with her grandchildren. However, Janaki saw her mother with a spurious smile and wished for that spark in her laughter that wasn’t seen anymore.
Days passed and then came the most awaited festival – Diwali. This is the festival that every Indian celebrates with full enthusiasm, devotion, love and care.
In Janaki’s family, the women of the house would gather at her mother’s home, every year, to prepare the Diwali Treats, that are also called as farall. As the Laddoo, Karanji and Shankarpalli, required lot of efforts, it would be efficient to have a few extra helping hands and finish the things early. Thus, just like every year, her mother was very glad to welcome everyone, guiding them with all the necessary requirements and chatting with their cook, Kamla between laughing out loud at some humour.
Janaki noticed a few times during the day that her mother was very comfortable and endlessly talked with Kamla, who was their regular cook since the last four years. Kamla was a neat, 5th grade educated lady, doing job as a cook in different homes. Right from greeting her mother to sharing her health issues with her, from asking her about the well being of her children to offering favourite ginger tea to her, Kamla now took a lot of care of Janaki’s mother at the time of her few hours’ work. With their never ending stories from newspaper update to society gossip, mother was unstoppable. Janaki was surprised to see this wonderful change in her mother and was very happy to finally see that lit-up spark on her face.
Really, friendship has no boundaries.
Janaki, sitting down with her dear cousins preparing the diwali treats, sensed how the treats were analogous to the principles of a good friendship.
A true friendship is as sweet as a Laddoo, little spicy & crispy like Chakli, and very supportive just like the way a Karanji holds its filling to enhance the taste. Friendships do shape up in various size over time just like sweet & namkeen Shankarpalli to give us the fulfilment of life and to make us realise the beauty of having good people to eat good food around us.
Diwali Treats are prepared only during this auspicious festival of lights; to brighten our lives and also to give us a beautiful reminder that friendship is a mixture of delicious Chivda where anything from different tastes, blends together to enhance, cherish the moment and relish its taste till the next festive season. A beautiful and supportive friendship is truly the need of the hour.
Janaki smiled to herself while her cousins kept the mood lighter with their funny banter and it was at that very moment Janaki knew that the world could be a better place if you just believed in yourself.
– Vaishali Pathare