Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Festivals

Uma 's children are home for a month. It is interesting that the length of the school holidays varies according to whether one is in a state school or a private ( English speaking ) school. In Neel Barahi's case, the state school is only closed for 15 days.  The pupils are given tons of homework to keep them occupied during the break.And the pattern is the same the whole world over- the children will rush around and get all the home work done in the first week, then they will spend the rest of the time playing and read their story books. Thats what I did when I was in school all those years ago. Nothing changes, it would seem. :)

The last few days have been one  big round of socialising and feasting. I was eating so much meat that I ended up having only 2 meals on some days .The water buffalo meat is very popular, but very spicy .The  Nepali chicken is the better option, tasty but not too hot..Some of the children are not used to eating so much rich food and meat day after day. They have ended up with indigestion and upset stomach . Well, the main days of Dashain  is now  over. Tihar (or Dewali- festival of Light ) will be upon us in a few days' time.

I have been privileged to be staying with Uma during the festival  this year. I think I have caused her quite a headache in terms of the schools' and home visits we wanted to do . Thankfully they were all resolved  without too much changes to her busy schedules. It was such a pleasure to be treated as part of the family . I received daily  "puja " (blessings with a tikka on my forhead ) from Uma, along with the children each morning. We then had the specially prepared sweet pastry for breakfast  afterwards.Yum yum.. I have always enjoyed that. Yes, they are deep fried and sweet. They are probably  not healthy to eat, but hey ,once or twice a year  is not going to hurt.

One of the first things the children asked for is a work top mini oven. A few cakes later, Rasmila, the eldest girl is becoming proficient in this.It is baffling that the staples we take for granted like raisins  and all the cake making and decorating stuff  are just not available here.I can see the list for next year growing. I showed Uma how to bake Mcann's chips in the oven rather than deep frying them. They are very pleased with the knowledge because it  means a healthier option.

We started with a simple sponge. We have baked the cakes 3 times. I would have liked to do a light fruit cake, but raisins and other dry fruit are not available here. Another time, another year. Rasmila will just have to content herself to be  the expert in sponge cake for now.It is humbling  to see how appreciative the youngsters are for everything I do with them.

There are only  a few more days left before I return to UK.What happened to September? Time waits  for no man, it would seem...

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