Friday, 9 November 2012

'Why I appreciate Diwali more as an NRI' by Laxmi Hariharan

Enjoy the Diwali Giveaway we have by our very own Laxmi Hariharan, the author of The Destiny of Shaitan, the winner of The Summer 2012 Readers’ Pick Award Contest.

Get to know her more by the post she shares with us today.

Why I appreciate Diwali more as an NRI
Of Laxmi Bombs, Mysore Paks & not fighting to break rules anymore

“Oh! We must buy some fireworks this year for Diwali in fact I’d so love to burst some Laxmi bombs….” I stopped. Good God! Had I just said that? Since being mercilessly teased by the neighbourhood boys about the Laxmi Bomb as a teenager, I had pretty much decided to shun Diwali on principal. What with Silk Smitha painted on every single billboard in town, at that time, the last thing I wanted was to be put in the same category as that bombshell; and being given the alter-ego of a Laxmi Bomb certifiably brought the images of Silk to mind. This was much before The Dirty Picture was released, confirming Silk’s official home in the annals of Indian pop culture trivia. But, apparently the passage of years had dulled the heartache, for here I was, actually pleading with my husband to buy firecrackers—especially phooljhaddis, the sparkly fountains, and uh! The rockets, ie. those ‘L’ bombs

Actually it’s more than that. Gone are the days—I suddenly realized—when I would shudder at the thought of spending yet another Diwali in the bosom of my family.  Obviously I had conveniently forgotten the rite of passage of what it meant to be subjected to the cruelty of the hated festive season. Of being slapped awake at dawn by Amma; then forced to squelch til-oil with mustard & jeera on my hair before washing it with the toughest shampoo possible so as to rub all the squish out—ending with hair that resembled a bottle brush; moving onto wearing new clothes and greeting elders; then bursting the traditional Diwali fireworks by 6am—thus waking up irate neighbours who complained about those strange Madrasi’s next door over their hangover; and finally gobbling up a massive breakfast of the choicest Muruku, Mysore Pak, Kesari & Boondi Ladoo before falling into a food induced stupor for the rest of the day. Yes, guess that was all water under the bridge now.

Where had my dread—of being surrounded by chattering relatives who vied at matchmaking me with that (shudder!) horrible curd-rice eating banker from USA—gone? And when had I turned into one of those ‘older’ relatives who loved to find out more about family politics. Who is divorcing whom? Who is fighting over the family inheritance? Which brothers have fallen out?

 Perhaps it had all changed when I realised that I had a choice. I was no longer forced to do anything. In fact I could decide where I wanted to participate, and pick the family occasions to attend on my visits back to India (all the better for it was the only time I could wear my gorgeous sarees.) At some point over the years, I had become more comfortable with my identity as someone who has the confidence of breaking societal rules. Of course now that I have broken some of them, there’s no fun in fighting it so I am happy to fit in

More than anything I now yearn to celebrate Diwali as an NRI, because it is a way to show that I understand and respect the values of my roots, for they have never let me down. Of course, above all else Diwali is also the time to worship the Goddess of Wealth who I am named after, something I never to fail to tell all my western born friends. Soaking up the wonder they express at that revelation helps too!

About Laxmi Hariharan (in my words): Though born in India, wanderlust drove me out of my home country, and I lived in Singapore and Hong Kong before being based in London where I now live. It was in embracing my roots that I found my voice. My debut novel The Destiny of Shaitan is available on Amazon Reach me here:

Facebook   |    Twitter     |     Website    |    Goodreads

The Destiny Of Shaitan   

Inspired by Indian mythology, The Destiny of Shaitan is a coming of age story, painted against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.

When Tiina accompanies Yudi on a mission to save the universe from the ruthless Shaitan, she seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. Driven by greed and fear for his own survival, Shaitan bulldozes his way through the galaxy, destroying everything in his path.  Tiina wants Yudi to destroy Shaitan, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Shaitan being killed by his son. But she finds that Yudi is hesitant to do so. The final showdown between Tiina, Yudi, and Shaitan has unexpected consequences, for Shaitan will do anything in his power to win the fight.  The stakes are high and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan's ultimate destiny be fulfilled?

Please click on the link below to enter to win the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope this Diwali brings health, happiness and such amazing prizes.  *smiles*



  1. Hi Vaishali,
    thank you so much for hosting me:) you are awesome!!:)

    1. Thanks, Laxmi! :) It was pleasure being a part of this event. :)

  2. Nice post, Vaishali. Even I appreciated Diwali more as an NRI. I guess it's true what they say -- when you miss something you start to appreciate it more!

    1. And they say it rightly. Thanks to Laxmi for sharing this brilliant Diwali post with us. :)

  3. Nice post by Laxmi Hariharan, giving a recount of our childhood memories of bursting crackers and the celebrations during Diwali.

    Thanks for sharing this with all of us Vaishali :) :)



    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Jay! Do enter the giveaway. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  4. Wonderful post, Vaishali, and a great way to introduce a writer friend! BTW You have been nominated for the Super Swe-e-e-t Award by Awakenings (catnipoflife's sister site). Go to to grab the badge and read through the 'rules'. . .wait just a bit since I am in the process of listing the nominees. If the award badge does not come up first on the homepage, try again later:>)

    1. Thanks for participating, Sharla! :)

      It's an honor to get such a sweet award from a writer like you. I'll make a post of it soon. Thanks so much once again. It means a lot! :)

  5. hai vaishali!.AWESOME post...god love u

  6. Just desire to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is
    just excellent and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.


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