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Diwali buzz: Indian families gear up for festival of lights.

Diwali, Christmas, or New Year, Kavita says, "if a match is on, it doesn't matter what the occasion is -- cricket is first priority."

On the eve of Diwali, on Saturday, there was yet another reason to celebrate as thousands of Indians in the UAE witnessed Rohit Sharma take the India vs Australia cricket match to another level, scoring a double century in the one day international -- one of only three in the world to have conquered such a feat.

Kavita Sundarmurti, whose husband Kailas works for a leather manufacturing company had the day off. According to his wife, who spent Saturday morning shopping for last-minute sweets to distribute to family, "Kailas has spent the entire morning in front of the TV."

Diwali, Christmas, or New Year, Kavita says, "if a match is on, it doesn't matter what the occasion is -- cricket is first priority."

At the India Club, there are no fireworks -- in a manner of speech, that is. With Friday and Saturday holidays for Diwali for the administration staff, celebrations will be held belatedly -- on Thursday, November 7, for members of India Club and their guests.

Meanwhile in homes in the city, there is abundant hustle-bustle.

Sudhakar Mitra, 31, though happy to spend time with twice removed loved ones, is grateful for having "finished the family rounds of faraway relatives" three days in advance, when the traffic wasn't too bad. Mitra is cheered at the prospect of staying home and hosting a cards party for friends.

A pharmacist married to an employee of Jashnamal, this is Praseetha Rajesh's sixth Diwali in Dubai. Unlike every year where the norm is buying saris, sweets and lighting lamps, this year Praseetha is doing something more.

Along with six or seven friends from the Malayali community, Praseetha, who is a Maharashtrian married to a Malayali, is herself preparing sweets and 20 people. "We are making five kinds of mostly sweet dishes for Diwali." Borne out of nostalgia for the sweets her mother used to prepare for Diwali, Praseetha was midway through making karanji, chakli, diamond cuts, sev and rava laddoos when Khaleej Times contacted her.

An enthusiastic Praseetha said: "One of my friends here, Nisha, is also from Maharashtra, so this is like old times."

Dhanteras, the auspicious day in the Hindu calendar to buy gold or something for the house, fell on Friday. So many women had a very busy time at the crowded jewellery shops in Gold Souq and Meena Bazr. "There was no place to move," said Shwetha Nair, a college student who went with her mother to buy a gold coin.

Nikita Wadhwani, a 33-year old Dubai resident, is looking forward to the celebrations. As for dressing up to the nines, it is such an integral part of the biggest Hindu festival that even Nikita's six-year-old daughter is going to wear a lehenga.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Nov 3, 2013
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