November 7, 2011
Below is the toast I delivered in our living room Saturday night during our fifth annual Diwali party. We were blessed to have many of our closest friends with us—some of whom drove many hours to be here!—and beautiful weather in the backyard. The gratitude Jill and I feel this year extends to all of you who read this blog and have offered us your love and support. Thank you for letting us share with you and allowing us to be a part of your lives. much love, Nishta
As many of you already know, I started throwing these Diwali parties after my dad died. With my grief came a strong desire to connect to my heritage, both spiritually and in the kitchen, and ultimately, I just wanted to throw the kind of party that my dad would love being at. I’m proud to say I think I’ve accomplished that goal.
This year, Diwali has an especially potent meaning for me and Jill. You may know some of the mythology behind Diwali—one of the root myths is about the god Rama returning to his hometown after long years away in exile. The villagers lit his pathway home with oil lamps, hence the name “Festival of Lights.”
Diwali is a celebration of victory—Rama’s mythological triumph over the forces of evil, but also the metaphorical victories that take place inside each human spirit. Since last year’s Diwali party, Jill successfully fought cancer and that is one victory we are keen to celebrate tonight. But even beyond that, I think the victory that we have been made most aware of in the last year is the victory of human goodness.
I cannot begin to really do justice to the ways we were cared for in this last year, by all of you in this room and so many others. We got really clear about just how powerful love is. There’s a verse in the eighth chapter of Song of Solomon, which I read from at my friend Kristen’s wedding this summer—“Set me as a seal upon thy heart, for love is stronger than death, passion fiercer than the grave.” Love IS stronger than death, and life is very, very good. Thank you all for being here tonight, and for being in our lives. Together, let’s toast L’Chaim, to life—
Diwali 2011 Menu
(Please let me know if you’d like me to blog about any recipes that aren’t linked!)
beer—Allagash White, Dogfish head Indian Brown, SKA Modus Hoperandi, Brooklyn Lager, Lefthand Milk Stout
wine—Guardian Peak Syrah, SA Prüm Essence Riesling, various sparkling
(we had nonalcoholic drinks, too!)
I have to say, this year’s party was easier than ever to plan thanks to my Diwali Pinterest board. If you’re not already using Pinterest, I highly recommend it as a fine method for culling visual ideas and inspiration, not to mention collaborating on projects and events; if you’re already on Pinterest, please find me so I can follow you back!