“Lights Up”

Dombivli is a city of secret streets. Hidden passages lead between apartments from one road to another, conveniently avoiding the congestion and traffic in between. While I have visited many times, I have never spent an extended period of time here. My aunt, the expert that she is, weaved with me in and out of Dombivli while shopping. She is confident of where she is going and determined to get from point A to B in the most efficient way possible. A skill I have yet to master.

Tiny street…lots of people
Flowers for garlands

I ate so much delicious food. Can we just discuss this for a second? Delicious sweets, and savory crispy Diwali treats, or faral, as it is called in Marathi. For the first time I had sev made from scratch. Made from SCRATCH! My aunt prepared lacy Dosas served with mush yellow potatoes and cooked with sweet onions. Ladoos made from gram flour mixed with sugar and ghee and interspersed with an occasional raisin. Just the right mix of sweetness and softness to make me eat five. I had five!

Look at these darlings!

This was the second time that I spent Diwali in India, and the first time was when I was very small. Of course, Diwali in India is so different from our quiet Diwali at home. Still, the feeling of celebration and excitement is common in both places, and I was happy to have had the opportunity to celebrate a holiday with my family in India.

pooja kit for a Diwali on the go

Now I have returned to the SEARCH campus, after the week long break. And while I am looking forward to working again, the trip to Dombivli gave me a quick glimpse into what it is like to travel in urban India by myself, something that I hope to have another chance to do. Hopefully, within the next eight months, I will get a chance to explore more parts of India, see more festivals, and eat more ladoos. Obviously.

Ramaa with a sparkler

Ramaa's interest in international health and development comes from a combination of living abroad in India, Japan and Zimbabwe, and her professional experiences. Ramaa spent a summer teaching English at a middle school in Jaipur, where she learned about the Indian education system, and issues facing teachers in the classroom. In 2008, Ramaa received a public interest fellowship to work with a microfinance organization in Egypt. There, she designed and implemented grant writing workshops and English classes. It was in Egypt that Ramaa identified her passion for public health work in rural areas, seeing the impact that grassroots initiatives have on local communities. After earning her degree from Bowdoin College, Ramaa worked as a Project Analyst for an IT contractor with the U.S. Government. Ramaa speaks Marathi and Japanese, and is a beginner at Spanish and Arabic.

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5 thoughts on ““Lights Up”

  1. “Can we just discuss this for a second?” haha love reading your posts. I always picture you sitting next to me talking and as always …..giggling. glad you had a great diwali!

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