Saturday 30 November 2013

Expat epidorpio - recipe

Recipe of expat epid....what? Oh, well - just needed a fancy word starting with an e- there... Partly true. But only partly. Epidorpio means dessert in Greek. Yep, simple as that. Almost. It comes from 3 words: epi ton dorpion = "on top of the meal" / "after the meal". Easy as that. Almost. The word dorpion comes from the Greek words drepo and draks = "cutting and gathering (grass and hay)" - and "hand-full" - so: a little something they ate in the evenings - after all the main meals of the day and after having finished the work. So, if you didn't know any Greek words, dear reader, you do now! The essential word of epidorpio. 

Where am I going with this expat dessert tale(- expat epidorpio sounds much more exiting, eh?) Well, living in different countries has taught me that sometimes I need to improvise in the kitchen. At least that is what I prefer to do. Meaning: if I can not find an ingredient or 2 - then I try to adjust the recipe - make it in a different way. To be honest with you: some times it works very well, and sometimes it simply .. does not. But hey, life is too short not to count our victories, right?!

I think this is a perfect (expat) dessert, because you can vary it in many ways! I have made it as a cheese cake in Norway: with cream cheese and sour cream; comforting in cold winter evenings. In Greece, I have made it as a lemon mousse; dropping the biscuit base, and adding lots of shredded lemon and bits of fruit: refreshing in warm summer nights!

Here in India, I have also made it - varying the jello and experimenting with different flavors. The lemon one is always a hit though! Here is my easy - made expat epidorpio recipe, - go wild!

You need:

1 box lemon jello (or pineapple, strawberry, peach- or your favorite flavor)
2-3 dl yogurt
100 gr digestive biscuits
50 gr melted butter
2 tsp cinnamon powder
Berries for garnish. I love redcurrants, raspberries or strawberries.
PS 1: If you are an experimental soul, you can play around - and add for example: 1. shredded lemon or lime peel. 2. Vanilla sugar or other extracts. 3. X-tra berries or bits of fruit. 
PS 2: If you are making it for vegetarians - make sure you check the jello box. Some are suitable for vegetarians, but some are not! 
All the ingredients you need for making the most flexible dessert ever, I think:-) 
A handful of redcurrants..
Remind me of childhood summers picking them from bushes in my grandparents' garden. 

You do: 

1. Make the jello according to what it says on the box, but use only 1/2 the amount of the water!
Pour 1/2 dl of the jello aside in a cup. Put the rest in the fridge to cool off. (once it is cold, take it out)
3. Crush the biscuits until they are like crumbs and add melted butter and cinnamon.
4. Make the vital decision on how you want to serve your dish! You can make it easy on yourself and make 1 big cake, or you can choose the hard way (which I do) and make your dessert in tiny glasses.
5. If you have chosen the hard way (of course you have!): add a layer of the base into each glass, and press it down, so it is even all the way around. Set to cool.
6. Concentrate on your jello. It shall be cold, but not set! Mix gently yogurt ( and any xtra's from point PS 1) and jello together. Pour it into the glasses on the base, and put back in the fridge.
7. Now, you have 1 big challenge left: Do not allow the rest of the jello (in the cup) to set before the rest of the dish is set. Guard it! Tips: Are you in trouble: add a little hot water - just to keep it runny!
8. Check on the dessert by pressing carefully on the top of it. Once it does not give in: decorate with berries and pour a thin layer of the jello on top.
9. Back in the fridge! Now you can relax - and prepare for the standing ovations you will receive, serving your carefully made little masterpieces!

PS. If you have teenagers- like I do- be prepared that they might not "get" the idea of tiny glasses..Defend your choice or capitulate and go for bigger glasses:-) 

Epidorpio with lemon and redcurrants:, served in tiny crystal  glasses:-)  
Enjoy! I hope you like it!

A lovely sunny Saturday morning here in Mumbai dear reader, and with this sweet culinary kick-off: I wish you a continuous wonderful weekend! All the best to you and thanks for following!    

Wednesday 27 November 2013

The art of gift - wrapping

So, my friend's little son had his birthday, and he was opening gifts. He struggled a bit to get the paper off one of them. - Oooh, a car! We applauded encouragingly when a green truck revealed itself from within the shiny red gift-paper. The boy gave the car a rather uninterested glance - and turned his attention back to the paper. Red and bright, with some glittery spots. He giggled and waived it triumphantly in the air, carefully inspecting it, making a ball of it - which he lost on the floor. Crisis! His mum picked it up, and tried to sneak it out to the garbage. NOT a popular decision with Birthday Boy whose face turned completely red, and I swear that his furious screams could have waken up a sleeping giant! The mum hurried back - with The Paper! Oh joy! He laughed and hugged it dearly - like he was welcoming a long lost friend.

And I don't think he is the only one who has fallen in love with the shiny wrapping paper rather than with the gift inside? But maybe usually kids? Well not anymore! Because, my dear reader, let me say one thing: if you ever get a present wrapped up in gift paper from India, - well, then my guess is that you might act just like that little boy! Oh yes! I am not joking. You will admire it, caress it, and maybe even make it into a ball and throw it in the air while you scream with joy?! Who knows?!

And if you have one of these relatives- I think we all do - you know, the ones who walk silently around picking up the used gift wrapping paper, smoothing it out, while mumbling: it-is-a-shame-to-throw-away-something-so-beautiful. Well, I am pretty sure that they will go bananas by the sight of the gift paper from India, and don't be surprised if you yourself start to act that way too! You might feel a sudden urge not to let that paper get away..

So, envelopes, paper, small cards, big cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, small boxes, big boxes, stars, small bags, big bags, frames - all with patterns and colors and decorations which are simply amazing. Small pieces of art, really. Invaluable tools for taking the art of gift-wrapping to a new level.. Just have a look:
Frames; perfect for the annual pictures of your kids, - to their grandparents:-) Bags, paper and boxes in all sizes and colors you can imagine. Everything you need to wrap up your gifts!
Colorful envelopes with small glass pearls, and gorgeous patterns. A gift in itself:-) 
Wrapping paper, cards and bags. And my favorite: elephant envelopes:  perfect gift-bags for shawls, books and cd's!
You may find envelopes, paper and gift bags in most book stores in India. I found some beautiful gift bags and cards in a shop at Hasnabad Lane in Santacruz. I got totally lost (in a positive way) in Chimanlals at Fort. The problem there is to be able to decide what to get. When a friend and I just went there - we spent hours. Really, hours. So, know this, dear family and friends - your Christmas gifts will have a captivating look this year. Be prepared to hang on to your paper and to guard it from lurking relatives:-)
Beautifully decorated small paper stars:-) They have them in Chimanlals - in lots of different colors.
You build them (read: open them) - but very easy- peasy! ( IKEA-style) Perfect for upcoming Christmas:-)  

Have a wonderful day, dear reader, and thanks for following! Bye bye from Mumbai! 

Monday 25 November 2013

7 signs that I am a Mumbai expat only

This post may be read as a warning to you folks back home ( for anyone else: just as a humble tribute to what India has taught me so far - *blinking the eye*)  - Because, yes, I might have changed - just a tiny little bit..So, be prepared back home! You may recognize me, by the following signs:

1. Clothes
The glitter&glam&bling element of my wardrobe has increased dramatically. You should be able to recognize me, but you just need to look beyond the golden sandals and the bright green colored kurta with glitter ornaments from the neck to my belly. Nope. Less is not more. More is more.

2. Time
This might come as a shock to you, if you knew me in my pre-India life. I might have adopted a more relaxed relationship with Time. You see, 12 o'clock Thursday does not necessarily have to be 12 o'clock Thursday. It can also be 3 o'clock Thursday, 5 o'clock Friday or next week. Go with the flow.

3. Dining
Try not to act surprised if I add some extra pepper or chili on the food. Fear not, if I rush off in a desperate search for masala, or if I suddenly start to sprinkle some fresh coriander on my dish - and probably on your dish too! My taste buds has adjusted to another palate, so the food back home might be a bit bland, now..

4. Driving
If you suddenly notice someone driving 1 cm from the back of your car, honking the horn like crazy, driving on the road-shoulder or accelerating when the signal turns yellow - in stead of reducing the speed - Well. That might be me, back home for vacation!

5. Shopping
5.1 You might see me looking Confused in the store, if there is no staff following me around, or available within 10 seconds after I need them. What kind of service is that? 
5.2 You might also find me looking Lost at the cashier. I have payed, and you see - I am waiting for someone to put my groceries into my bags for me. What? No one does that for you?! 

6. Queues
If you are standing patiently waiting for your turn in a neatly formed line (f.ex in a public washroom) - and you see a lady in kurta and golden sandals walking pass all of you and straight up to the front of the line.Yep. That might be me. Feel free to remind me of the local customs. Sorry, forgot myself there. 

7. Language
I have polished my English by adding phrases like: - I need to pre-pone that meeting ( opposite of postpone), - Please, do the needful! (do what you have to do) and adding "only" to the end of every second sentence I utter. It is just a habit I like.  - What can I do? I am on holiday only! 

Yes, 7 points- we are in India after all. But I have to add that I will not look away if we meet: I will look you in the eyes, and start to talk to you immediately whether it is on the street, in an elevator or on a bus. Life is too short not to catch up:-) I will bring color, spices, some Bollywood-moves and music! I will carry with me stories from India and show you pictures from amazing places and tell you about some wonderful people I have met. I might also a bit aggressively try to recruit you as a sponsor to support a child's education in Mumbai, because I have seen with my own eyes how just a little support can mean the world for some of these kids and their chances of making a better life for themselves.

So, you see where this is going right? To end this post in a more serious way, living in Mumbai has reminded me: to not take things for granted, to be appreciative of what we have, to be open and humble to life and to be happy here and now. To enjoy the present. And I have been reminded that things do not make you happy. But people and moments do! Ok, then - and maybe just a tiny bit of bling-bling on your blouse:-)

Hope you enjoyed my *blinking the eye* post today.

Good evening from Mumbai, dear reader!

Saturday 23 November 2013

Happy birthday, expatliv!

A year ago today, I was sitting at my desk staring at the "Publish" button. My finger kept getting close to it, and then hesitated... I left the desk, went to make a cup of tea, and then back. Should I press it? Go live? I took a deep breath, and pressed it. Help! My very first blogpost was "out there".

I started to blog for these reasons:
  • To update people "back home". In my pre-blog life, I could post a picture from my India life on fb, and it created a lot of questions and comments like - What do you do there? - Tell me some more about that! - Write us an email. - More pictures! - You should start to blog!
  • I have always had writing as a passion, and for many years I made my living from it. By blogging I could try a new way of writing, and the best of all: - do it "just for fun" 
  • I took a course about blogging and creating a blog was part of that... so I was practically there already by the end of the course.
  • It seemed like a nice way to digest the memories from our new life in India, and also to keep track of my everyday adventures here.
What a fun year it has been! The blog has now over 30.000 page-views and has readers from all over the world. And the extra bonus, which I did not anticipate, is how many wonderful people I have connected with through my blog. People who share my passion for writing and exploring and who enjoy what I do.

I feel humble and grateful. And as a people's person, I so enjoy discovering my readers and their world as well! And what a global world it is: the Canadian in Stavanger, the Greek in Melbourne, the Indian in New York, and the Swede in Bahrain - just to mention a few. I have been contacted by expats, prospective expats, visitors, tourists and companies. I have had great joy of connecting with my Indian blogger friends from whom I learn new things about India every day.

Being more a dialogue-person than a monologue person, these connections have meant a lot to me, and I am so grateful - also because I actually managed to push that "publish" button a year ago. So, to each and one of you, dear reader: thank you from the bottom of my heart for following, commenting and for reaching out. I appreciate every single one of you and wish you only the best.

PS: I have made some changes at the page- menu at the top. I made a "Mumbai-tips"page  (as a reader asked me to), and added some relevant overview of posts on the others. I also added Connect with Google Friends gadget:-) Hope you like it. Have a great day!  

Thursday 21 November 2013

A Greek feast - on a normal Thursday

While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize - sometimes with astonishment - how happy we had been.

Yes, today Zorba the Greek came to Mumbai! Perfect time for a Greek Feast  - in the company of the wonderful ladies in my book club. We chatted, discussed the book, watched a bit of the film, enjoyed Greek yummies like souvlaki, moussaka, tirosalata, melitsanosalata, Greek salad and olives, and of course with Greek music on the speakers! Opa! Opa! (no, no, no plates were broken:-) Great feast! 

Zorba the Greek
by Nikos Kazantzakis was first published in 1946, and made in to a movie in 1964 - huuuge success around the world! People loved the story about the narrator, an intellectual, who hire the crazy Alexi Zorba - and together they travel to Crete to start a lignite mine. It is a book that I feel, still can provide some good insight and wisdom - about life, about being in the moment and living in the present, about appreciation, gratitude and about happiness. 

I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.
Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates - in the famous scene from Zorba the Greek
This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right and to realize of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished its final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.

Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.

See what I mean? Happiness doesn't need to cost anything and it can be found in the simplest of things: the sight of dolphins, a warm hug, a kind word, some cooling sea breeze- or simply sharing a meal with some good friends:-) And it is about seeing the beauty of it while it happens, not allowing the past to stress you (it is gone..) nor allowing yourself to worry about the future. To be in the present - 100%!    

So, one of my favorite scenes from the film is the famous one, on the beach. The mine has gone down the drain, the narrator is broke- things are looking bad and then ... 
- Dance, did you say dance?!

Nikos Kazantzakis is one of Greece most known authors. He was born on Crete in 1883. He studied law in Athens and worked also as a journalist. He traveled all over Europe, Russia and Asia and wrote numerous works, whereas Zorba being the most famous one. Kazantzakis died in 1957, and is buried in Heraklion, Crete where the epitaph on his tomb reads:

= I fear nothing. I hope for nothing. I am free. 

I hope you enjoyed it, dear reader. Thank you for following and have a wonderful evening! 
Bye from Mumbai! 

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Fever & heroes - chess, cricket or football?

Lately, I have observed a dramatic increase in the number of chess-interested Norwegians! Facebook is full of enthusiastic outbursts, chess-tweets are blooming and the newspapers are competing on digging up the most they can about Norway's new super athlete: Magnus Carlsen. Who is now in Chennai, challenging the World Champion Viswanathan Anand for his title! Hey! When I grew up, chess was a bit.. nerd-y..Not IN! But, now the chess fever is on! So on! Today, I read that the Norwegians rank Carlsen as the 3rd greatest Norwegian athlete ever. Needless to say perhaps, that number 1 and 2 are both skiers? But - still some Anand-Carlsen rounds to go...
According to the 3 greatest Norwegian athletes .. ever! 
In my domestic sphere, the chess fever is rather absent, but the football (soccer!) fever is raging! The Greek can hardly sleep these days: Greece is fighting to qualify for FIFA World Cup! Last Friday they beat Romania 3-1, and they are playing again.. right now! Judging from previous similar events - we are in for tons of loud articulate outbursts by the feverish football loving Greek clan in Mumbai! Go Greece!
The Greek national team (FIFA 2013) 
As for cricket-fever, I have the feeling that it is usually on here in India. It may have intensified just now when the beloved cricketer Sachin Tendulkar retired by playing his 200th and last match here in Mumbai, his home city. A very emotional moment for him and for all his fans both in India and all over the world. I really enjoyed reading a beautiful tribute to him on one of my favorite fellow blogger's site My Yatra Diary.
Picture from
So, fever or no fever, we may all have our heroes whether it is in chess, football, cricket - or elsewhere? Talking about heroes, I can not help thinking about the children at the NGO school. You see, we have been working on presentations and descriptions lately, and one boy wrote this:

" My father is the first to wake up in the morning. He takes care of all the other members of the family. He works hard to take care of our needs. I will always love and respect my father. He is loving and caring." 

Thanks for following, dear reader, and enjoy your moments!

Thursday 14 November 2013

Happy Children's Day!

So, there we were: the local politician, the doctor and the (expat) volunteer: 3 honored and humbled guests at an amazing event! According to the program, we were there "to grace the Annual Felicitation Function":-) We were welcomed with flowers and coconuts and got a shawl hanged around our necks - and together we lit the four sided candle for hope, prosperity, enlightenment, and for the best of the event! And then the party was on!

But it was really all about the kids! Because today is Children's Day here in India, and "my" NGO threw a big celebration! It was about encouragement and acknowledgement, dreams and hopes -  aaaand about having fun! And it really seems like they did - and so did we- by the way!

The doctor, the politician, myself and another guest from the NGO Mumbai Smiles - we had the great honor of giving out prizes to the kids. They were celebrated for good results in school, for winning dance and music competitions and for extra skills - like writing poetry and drawing. A lot of prizes and a lot of happy faces! The children performed dances, they recited poems and held speeches, and we grown-ups held speeches too. I must admit that by the time it was my turn, I was already quite moved by the atmosphere. It is something about celebration & children: you know: standing there and see The Future sitting there in front of you - wonderful individuals with hopes, dreams and plans. I so want the best for each and one of them.

Here are some pictures from my day:
Light the candle - and the celebrations begin:-)
And the performances start - here a modern dance:-) 
An active and supportive audience - the bright future of India:-) 
Another dance performance - a more traditional Indian dance.  
A prize - ready to be given out! Of course served in style:-) 
A celebration is coming to an end! 
In India, Children's day is always celebrated on the 14 of November, which is also Jawaharlal Nehru's birthday (the first prime minister of the country). Today, in schools, offices, institutions and organisations there have been cultural performances, competitions and games.

For me it has been a memorable day - with the kids, guests, and last but not least: with great colleagues - who did a wonderful job organizing the whole event! They are the ones who are doing such an important job every single day - for so many of the children and their families in this area (despite some challenges now and then.... ) Trying to make it a children's day every day, all year round... Oh, I am so grateful to be a volunteer there!

Best regards to you dear reader, and Happy Children's day, wherever you are:-)

Monday 11 November 2013

Pakora! Presenting: The Onion ring's exotic cousin! - recipe

I think I once said that I am not a big fan of fried food - but that was before I met Pakora! So, here I am - again - with yet another fried dish! A popular Indian snack, so you can eat it like this - with some chutney. But being a global Le Chef ( hm hm),  I also think this is a perfect side dish, or an element in a meze. I enjoyed it with a big salad, and with peach chutney.

With teenagers, onion rings is a hit anyway, and they did like the pakoras. You can find a lot of recipes on it, and different versions, and we also tried to make it with shredded cabbage and potatoes - but these exotic cousins of onion rings were the most popular ones with my family. This is how we did it:


You need: 
7-8 big onions, chopped in thin slices (OR 1/2 shredded cabbage head OR 6 sliced potatoes)
1 1/2 cup of chick peas flour (besan in Hindi)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
water (Chef's tips: add some soda water instead of water to secure the crispy-ness:-))
oil for frying

Mix for onion pakora and for cabbage pakora
You do:
Mix all the dry ingredients well. Add a little bit of water - just enough to make the batter hang together. It shall be thick and smooth, but not at all watery! Adjust with a little flour or water if needed.

Heat the oil. Form small balls with a spoon, and fry the pakoras until golden/light brown. Leave them on a plate covered with kitchen paper - after they have been fried!


Saturday 9 November 2013

- Have you done your time-in today?

When something bad happens - we often say: - Oh no, why did this happen to me? Why me? I am so unlucky! BUT when something good happens we do not say the same, do we? Like - Oh, why did this good thing happen to me? Me of all people? Hm.. so why do we cling to the negative? Like when someone is saying 9 positive things to us - and 1 negative. What do we remember? The negative one, eh?

Going home from my meditation group today - these were thoughts going through my mind. I admit it: I am addicted! Just like I brush my teeth and take my shower every day, India has taught me how to make a habit of cleaning my mind as well. A kind of time out. A time to go through thoughts and emotions. Maybe it is more of a time-in - a time to go in to my mind, to clean up a bit..To let go of negative thoughts from the past and to let go of worries for the future. To just be. Here and now. In the moment.

For me it has been an interesting experience, and today, walking there with a goofy smile on my face, in my very own post-meditation bubble, a feeling of wellness overwhelmed me. Just the thought of a green tree, an orange flower and the blue sea- made me smile. (no eye-rolling please..:-) )No one could disturb my harmonic state of mind today ( believe me - there were some good attempts ..) - maybe also because it kind of traveled of - of to:

The BLUE ocean of Greece... Is there anything more peaceful than sitting watching the sea? I closed my eyes today, and there I was- listening to the waves, feeling the sea breeze, just being there:

The vibrant ORANGE color of India: on gorgeous flowers, vibrant garlands, spicy spices, saris... I think orange is the most colorful color I know - if you get what I mean.. I can feel my energy rising to an uncontrollable level, just by closing my eyes and thinking about orange!

The GREEN hills of Norway. The vibrant sign of fresh air, nature coming back to life again in the spring time. When I close my eyes, I can feel the calmness that the clean air from the green hillsides brings along.  

Now, the time-in being the time-in - can be done anywhere of course, but I can't help smiling by the thought of the perfect location.. Doesn't it sound great to be on a green hillside overlooking the sea - doing your meditation while an orange sunset (or sunrise - if you are a morning bird) emerge in front of you? Well, close your eyes- and there you are..

A day on the more spiritual side today, dear reader. I hope you have had a good one too. I wish you a wonderful weekend:-) And - enjoy your moments:-)

Wednesday 6 November 2013

- So, what about Delhi?

- So, what about Delhi? My friend glances at me through her dark sunglasses. - Eh? I look at her, a bit confused. - Delhi! she insists, - I could not see that you have written anything about Delhi on your blog?!

Aha! Remember my dear friend, who happens to be from New Delhi, right? The one who, if we spoke about dirty roads in Mumbai would say - Go to Delhi, it is so much cleaner! And when we were bargaining at markets in Mumbai: - The shops are better in Delhi, cheaper and they do not try to cheat you! And when dining out, she would claim: - It's nice, but you should try the Delhi dishes! The one who, for over a year repeatedly has asked me - So, when will you go? (Not "if", but "when") Of course we had to go. And we did!

My friend was eagerly waiting for me to come home from New Delhi, and her son had warned me (with a giggle): - Even if you did not think that Delhi was so much cleaner than Mumbai - just tell her that you thought it was. You know, she will be very happy:-) 

New Delhi. The capital of India. We strolled (despite grey weather) at Connaught Place and had lunch at Veda. We saw the Secretariat building (Government of India) the Parliament and the India gate. We saw embassies (also from the inside), the Bahai' Lotus temple (from the road because it was closed that day) and Qutab Minar. We visited friends who live there, and who have visited us in Mumbai. And honestly: yes, we did see some clean streets and green parks! The most, I think I enjoyed the sense of walking in Mahatma Gandhis footsteps to put it like that.. (his house in Mumbai being one of my favorite sights here..)

The thing is, dear reader, I think I might be a second-largest-city-girl. There is something about me and the second largest cities, the wanna-be-capitals. You see, I grew up in Bergen, the second largest city in Norway. A city with a confidence, an identity of its own. Once the capital of Norway, but now - no more. And in Greece, I have lived in Athens, but it was Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city that stole my hearth. That is where I felt at home, with the atmosphere, nightlife, history and culture - aaah Salonica....

So, is it like the song says: Home is where your hearth is? It was great to see New Delhi, even for only a couple of days - but also great to come home. Home to my city, my maximum Mumbai.

And dedicated to my dear Delhi friend - yes, here it is: clean streets and green parks:

The Parliament
I enjoyed seeing the Government buildings. I could almost visualize Gandhi coming up this street, and the British leaving.. The history of India comes alive in Delhi.

So, to be honest, dear reader - we were a bit lazy in Delhi - enjoying more the company of friends and good meals. In our defense - we had to try those Delhi dishes, it was raining a lot and we were only there for a couple of days. Not enough - according to my dear friend. So we might have to go back, because according to her there are still lots of places I just have to see - and they are all in Delhi ....  of course :-)
Bye from Delhi! See you again:-) 
All the best to you, dear reader - thank you for following:-)

Sunday 3 November 2013

Happy Diwali!

As I write this, I can barely hear my own thoughts! Mumbai goes crazy tonight! Fireworks in gold, silver, red, green lit up the smokey sky, and we are not talking about a bit of firework around midnight - oh no, here we are talking daaays: hours after hours...  And like my friend said: "the louder the better, because then the bad spirits are scared off"  

Ok. What - a -  festival! The mother of all Indian festivals! Diwali. The festival of lights. Last year, we celebrated in Goa, so this is our first Diwali at home- in Mumbai! And you know, we have been preparing and decorating. We have lit our diyas and put out our rangolis. We have been celebrating with friends and neighbors - and yet we are just in the middle of the festival! About time I popped in to wish you, dear reader, a Happy Diwali as well, I think!

Today is the maybe most important day, the day when goddess Lakshmi is worshiped. A day to gather with loved ones, to enjoy good food and sweets, and to welcome Lakshmi, praying she will bring wealth, health, and good fortune to your home. And send up fireworks - not to forget! That might also have been yesterday by the way - the fireworks:-)  

At Diwali we celebrate that light concur darkness and the victory of good over evil. Hindus have some important events associated with Diwali. One is the return of lord Rama to the kingdom Ayodhya after his 14 years in exile. He was then welcomed with arrays of diyas, the small clay lamps - which we see outside every home, and along the streets during this festival.

Our neighborhood is looking like a fairy-land - all lit up, really beautiful. And what a joy: still some days left for celebrations - you got to love the festivals in India! They just go on and on!

Happy Diwali, dear reader. I wish you the best.