The Gujarati festival of Diwali is approaching, and with it the streets of Mumbai are lit up with colorful paper lanturns and electric lights adorning the buildings while the doorsteps are decorated with diyas, or small earthen lamps. Diwali is known as the Festival of Lights, and reminds be quite a bit of how Christmas and the New Year are celebrated back home. This will be the first time I get to celebrate Diwali here in India, and I can't wait!
Since I'll be going to Akola with my parents for Diwali, Mama and Mami decided to treat me to an authentic Gujarati thali dinner before I leave this Sunday, and it was quite an experience. We sat down at the table that was set with large thalis that each contained 4 or 5 smaller bowls, and within moments the waiters began serving how dinner. The menu was fixed, and for the next few minutes each waiter came with serving dish in hand to offer us rotis, vegetable shaaks, curries, daal, khadi, dholka, fruit salad, and chaas.
We all tucked into the feast and our plates were kept full by the very attentive staff. Despite Malan Mami's warning that the waiters will keep serving you until you say no, the food was too good to refuse and I ended up eating far more than I normally do. As my cousin Adit told me, your thali should look messy at the end of the meal, because there is no way you can finish all the food they give you!
Here's an example of a traditional Gujarati thali:
For anybody planning on visiting Mumbai, this is something they have to try, it's wonderful.