SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

November 5, 2010

Happy Deepavali to all

Filed under: Chit Chat,Singapore — Alex @ 2:48 pm

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody, especially the Hindu around the world a very Happy Deepavali. In English it is known as the festive of lights.

My blog title “Spicegasm” is actually inspired by Indian food. I was exposed to Indian dishes at a tender age of 6 and it was surely love at first bite. In Singapore and Malaysia, this celebration is a public holiday. I get excited as a kid when Deepavali is around the corner even though I’m not a Hindu. I get excited mainly because I get to visit my Indian friends open house during Deepavali. Secondly it is a school holiday.

Some of you might be curious what open house means. Open house is when there’s a celebration like Deepavali, my Indian friends would “open” their house for friends to come visit. Free food will be served during your visit. You do not really need an invitation. As long as you are a close friend to those who are celebrating the auspicious day, you can just drop by with an empty stomach. I remember  I used to make a list of houses to visit during Deepavali. First open house to visit was a good friend of mine whose mom that cooks really well. I can still remember her mom’s chicken and mutton curry eaten with home made dosai. ( rice flour Indian pancake laced with Ghee ). I would normally skipped the cookies and snacks like muruku to save space in my stomach for her mom’s dosai.

Those were the good old days when life is simple and pure. I’m not sure if this open house culture is still practice as much at present. Maybe as an adult, we tend to be more conscious of everything we do. I have to admit I feel a little bit shy to go visit some Indian friends of mine as an adult. There’s so many excuses on my mind to deter me from visiting them. The excuses are like maybe they are not celebrating or worse, maybe they think I am there for the free food. When we were kids young and innocent, my main goal was really to pay my friends a visit. We were trained to be harmonious in a multi racial society. Okay, maybe the dosai and chicken curry did play a role in motivating me to be harmonious but I’m sure you get my point.

Oh how I missed the good old days. I can still remember the TV channel would be airing Deepavali musical specials and also Tamil box office movies. Tamil movies are not to be mistaken with Bollywood films. Tamil movies have their own superstars like MGR, Kamala Hassan, Rajinikhan and Prabhu Deva. My Indian friends used to be very amused with me as my knowledge on Tamil movies were pretty good. I just love to learn other people’s culture. I really make sure I pay attention to what they have to teach me and remembers it really well. I think if you respect other people’s culture and genuinely want to learn, is easy to remember.

I don’t get to watch Tamil movies as much now as I’m always traveling. Some parts of the world does not air Tamil movies. Last 2 months ago I was in Singapore and was flipping through the TV channel as I got bored with the reruns of HBO and Star Movies. I stumbled into this channel call Vasantham. It is a Tamil language channel ( maybe sometimes have Hindi movie ) produced by Mediacorp of Singapore. This channel is specially dedicated for all the Singapore born Indian. Showing on TV that day was a Tamil movie starring Prabhu Deva.

Watching the movie reminds me of my Indian friends who were big fans of his. They swore on their lives that Prabhu Deva dance better than Michael Jackson. I remembered a Tamil movie blockbuster during the late 80’s called Khadalan ( means Love in Tamil ) and one of the songs were a big hit among the Indian communities around the world. We used to get into argument like whether Indian songs would be received by the masses who are non Indian. I told them that is quite impossible for other people to adopt the Indian music. Even for me a guy who loves Indian food and have quite good knowledge on Indian culture like me still preferred the US and UK pop songs.

They told me that the songs in the movie Khadalan was really new and fresh and not the same like those old Tamil movies. The song writer for the movie was a young man named AR Rahman. They forced me to watch the movie and I still gave them the same conclusion. Prabhu Deva and AR Rahman will not be popular outside of the Indian community, period!

So fast forward 20 years later. Scenario number one – AR Rahman is now an award winning composer who wrote the score for the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire. Scenario number two – because of the success of AR Rahman, I decided to “wikipedia” Prabhu Deva to get more information. To my surprised, he did became popular around the world. He is known as Benny Lava to the non Indian communities. I will post a video which made Prabhu Deva famous world wide at the end of my post.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish my Indian friends a Happy Deepavali and admit that I was wrong about the Indian music and film industry. You guys were right and I am actually very happy for them. Now they can say that is not only the Indian food that makes Indian culture recognizable, AR Rahman and Prabhu Deva are way up there too.


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