Saturday was Ashtami, the 8th day of the nine-day Hindu fasting period known as Navratri (literally, ‘nine nights’) during which the goddess Durga is honoured.
Food, as ever, plays an important part.
Throughout Navratri, Durga is offered all the good things (ghee, jaggery, fruit, coconut) to ensure a healthy and prosperous year ahead. On Ashtami many people invite little girls (to represent the different forms of Durga) into their homes and ply them with heaps of treats.
I again was lucky enough to celebrate Ashtami with the lovely Arora family and all the beautiful little girls of their neighbourhood.
Along with the little goddesses, I was amply fed and watered.
On the way back to the Metro, I noticed Old Delhi businessmen were also doing their bit to keep the goddess happy by giving away free food. Every few yards there was a temporary stall groaning with huge vats of chhole and aloo ). Behind, small armies were frying up thousands of fresh hot puris. In front, hundreds of open hands.
Served with a tapas-sized portion of potato curry, the dish was completely delicious.
One portion, needless to say, just wasn’t enough but I decided it might not be too good for my prospects if Durga caught me being greedy .
Mark your calendars for food fit for a goddess – next Navratri starts on 16th October.