When Preetham and Swarna heard that Badi Ma was visiting, they were excited. They knew Diwali would be different this year.

Preetham and Swarna were excited that Mrs. Raman an old aunt of theirs was spending Diwali with them. They called her Badi Ma. They always learnt something new from Badi Ma. When she arrived they noticed that despite her advancing years she was still agile and as active as ever.

“Do you help your mother in preparing the sweets,” asked Mrs. Raman. Preetham and Swarna were caught unawares and they did not know how to answer her. But they also knew that Badi Ma could read their thoughts.

Time for action

“Preparing savouries and sweets for Diwali is indeed an elaborate process and we used to begin preparing four to five days in advance. Since I am here, I am counting on both of you to help me out.” said Mrs. R with a twinkle of her eye.

Preetham and Swarna were happy to help her. Badi Ma made a mixture of rice and gram flour and added a bit of jeera, some butter and a pinch of salt to it. Swarna liked the idea of putting the mixture into various moulds and pressing it into hot oil. Hot, tasty and crispy murukkus of different patterns and shapes were soon made.

Badi Ma also taught them to make laddoos. She added powdered sugar and hot ghee to ground rava. It was a challenging task but both Preetham and Swarna competed with each other to see who would make the most. Soon, the delicious laddoos were ready. Then Badi Ma taught them to make Mysore pak, gulam jamun and many other dishes.

“Just a little change and a different proportion of ingredients and we have so many delicacies,” thought Swarna. Since they were a team of three, no one was tired and in fact it was rather enjoyable.

“Getting up early in the morning, getting an oil massage, bathing, wearing new clothes, praying and getting blessed by the elders was a beautiful tradition we followed. Do you follow the tradition here?” asked Badi Ma reminiscing. Preetham and Swarna said that these traditions were followed in their house too and Badi Ma was very happy.

“I love everything about Diwali, except the noise,” said Badi Ma.

Preetham assured her that she had no cause for worry as loud firecrackers were ruled out in their home. Instead they played with sparklers and flower pots.

Swarna and Preetham decorated their home with beautiful, but expensive diyas. Badi Ma suggested they make the diyas themselves and decorate them too. Once they were done, it looked colourful and exotic.

The children presented their home-made sweets, and diyas to their friends and relatives. Later in the day Badi Ma took them to an orphanage and they gave the children there presents of sweets and clothes. All of them had a wonderful time.

“The idea behind this festival is to spread happiness and share joy. That’s the real spirit of Diwali,” said Badi Ma. The siblings could only agreed with her.