PaatiSays

#PaatiSays is a PETRONAS Deepavali project to collect the wisdom of our elders and to share the traditions and values of the Indian culture.

Explore the stories of our elders and the traditions and values of the Indian culture. Each photo holds a special nugget of wisdom.
"Don’t bite the whole 'Kallu Urundai' sweet. Your teeth will break."
"We used greeting cards to decorate our house last time. Now they use plastic leaves."
"Last time, we didn’t visit people much. Nowadays we’re more sociable and meet more people."
"What my mother used to tell me was 'Don’t eat so much sugar. You’ll become too sweet.'"
"First, we must know how to respect, then we can continue."
"Indians used to give cookies and sweets to all their neighbours, regardless of race."
"Children now ask for 'angpows'. Last time, they just got sweets."
"Celebrate and spend more quality Deepavali time with your family."
"When we walk, our feet cannot touch another’s feet, it is very bad manners."
"Give donations. Enable people to buy food and make them happy."
"The Indian snacks were really good!"
"We don’t eat meat on Deepavali but many people nowadays don’t practice that tradition."
"All my kuih recipes are passed down from my grandmother."
"Deepavali those days was fun, now everything is ready-made."
"We are all friends here in this area, Melayu, Cina, India. We cari makan together. "
"Everything has value, even a dead leaf on the ground."
"What I miss are 'Kallu Urundai' delicacies. People are no more making them."
"I try to follow the traditions as much as I can to the ones in India."
"Unity is very important. We have to be united, whatever race you are."
"Celebrating Deepavali with parents enlightens the festival."
"My mother taught me, I’ll teach my children, then we can carry on the traditions."
"We used 'manjal' turmeric on the clothes before wearing them for the occasion. It was a sign of blessing."
"What the young must do during Deepavali? Give money to the elders."
"12-footer Chinese firecrackers must be released to bring prosperity."

RAMAN, 51, SECURITY GUARD

My grandmother used to massage me with oil on Deepavali mornings. It does not happen any more. My grandmother also used to tell me don’t bite the whole “Kallu Urundai” sweet. Your teeth will break. What I would like to see is the big-size appalam again. Back in the day, they used to be as big as a thosai. I would like to see that coming back. So I want my grandchildren to learn to cook the traditional foods and not use ready-made products. This has been forgotten.

RAJAN, 54, GROCERY SHOP OWNER

There’s no difference for me in how I celebrate Deepavali. I’m always at my mother’s house with the whole family. Around 50 people. It has always been the same around 50 people consistently. The decoration? We used greeting cards to decorate our house last time. Now they use plastic leaves.

JAINTI, 41, MURUKKU MAKER

Yes, we celebrate Deepavali differently. Last time, we didn’t visit people much. Nowadays we’re more sociable and meet more people. This brightens the occasion. We used to make cookies together as a family. Now we do it alone by ourselves or buy it. In my family, we say, “Don’t cut nails at night. It brings bad luck”. Also, “Don’t eat kuaci. It’s bad for health.” My grandmother used to always tell me to sweep the house and bring the rubbish in.

KUMAR, 40, GARLAND MAKER

I’ve been in Malaysia for 10 years. Deepavali is different because we used to be all together closely during the occasion, but now no more. As a child, I used to eat cookies as they were being made, before they were even ready! It was fun and sneaky. What my mother used to tell me was “Don’t eat so much sugar. You’ll become too sweet.”

KUPPAN LOTHMANA, 65, RETIREE

I think young people should still practice Devanan, the morning prayers, listen to the preachers in the temples and learn to sing the songs. I would like to tell the young people of every race, to be grateful to their parents. Respect your parents and support them. First, we must know how to respect, then we can continue.

SAKAR, 56, FACTORY WORKER

In the olden days last time, there wasn’t any advertising for Deepavali. No radio ads, no prints ads. Also no “angpows”. But now we have. In the kampung areas, the Indians used to give cookies and sweets to everyone, to all their neighbours, regardless of race. Even though they are away, they will keep their share for them till they are back.

POORANY, 40, BANKER

Deepavali is very different today. Last time, we didn't celebrate with fireworks. And children now ask for "angpows". Last time, they just got sweets.

KALAIARASI, 52, HOUSEWIFE

These days, young people, on Deepavali, spend a lot on liquor. They want to drink and have fun. But they never think that if an accident happened, they would bring sorrow to their families. I want to say to them, you can go out and have fun with friends but celebrate and spend more quality Deepavali time with your family.

MALANI, 55, MOTHER OF JEWELLERY SELLER

My grandson is only 8 but I’ll scold him if he doesn’t have manners. He doesn’t know the “adat-adat India”, because kebangsaan schools don’t teach them about it, only the Tamil schools teach it. For example, when we walk, our feet cannot touch another’s feet, it is very bad manners. I hope my grandson will “belajar pandai”, study hard.

KHARINI, 56, GARLAND MAKER

Deepavali is “enjoy day”. Old people will tie “dothi”, wear new clothes. After they’ve dressed up, children will need to get blessings from them. All children must be back in their parents’ house on the first day of Deepavali. My parents taught me to do good, give donations. Enable people to buy food and make them happy.

MADAM SIEW, 53, CLEANER

Deepavali is so much quieter now compared to last time. I used to visit my neighbour’s house during Deepavali before they moved away. The Indian snacks were really good!

PUSHPA KAUR, 82, HOUSEWIFE

Deepavali is always about the children, buying new things and cleaning the house. We don’t eat meat on Deepavali but many people nowadays don’t practice that tradition. We decorate the house with flowers and lights. Back in the day, we used stainless steel plates and cups for special occasions and they needed to be carefully washed and cleaned.

CHELVI, 42, KUIH SELLER

I have been selling Indian kuih here for 18 years already. I learned all my cooking from my grandmother. All my kuih recipes are passed down from my grandmother. Last time, we just listened to the old people, now the young ones are so “manja”. They refuse to listen to us and accept our advice.

DEVI, 61, RETIRED

Deepavali those days was fun, now everything is ready-made. One of the games boys used to play was the “kavidikali” board game. Do you also know the Indians those days used to play congkak during their past-time?

ZAITUN, 60, MEE SELLER

We are all friends here in this area, Melayu, Cina, India. All races are one here, we cari makan together. During Deepavali, my friends will invite us to their house. My hope for Deepavali this year, everyone to be “elok-elok, jangan gaduh, masyarakat sama saja, kaum Cina, India, Melayu.”

LETCHUMI, 60, FLOWER STALL OWNER

My grandmother told me many things. She told me to tie my hair in plaits to look beautiful. Nowadays you look at girls’ hair in all different colours and styles. She also said, when you leave the house, wash your legs and hands before coming back in; Give respect and take respect; Everything has value, even a dead leaf on the ground; Always love everyone, even if they are from the street.

KAGATHAVALLI, 79, HOUSEWIFE

Yes there is a difference in decorating the house for Deepavali nowadays compared to last time. We don’t do it as lively as it used to be. Last time it used to be an occasion to decorate the house. What I miss are “Kallu Urundai” delicacies. People are no more making them.

SHIWANI, 32, MARKETING PROFESSIONAL

We are from Delhi and now we are staying in Malaysia. In India, the markets are super crowded during Diwali, the cars can’t even move. The celebration is more of a family affair in India, it’s different here because we are away from our relatives. Even though we are in Malaysia, I try to follow the traditions as much as I can to the ones in India.

SELVA DURAI, 45, SELF-EMPLOYED

Unity is very important. We have to be united, whatever race you are. My mother-in-law told me she wishes the younger generations don’t fight each other so much.

LATHA, 39, FLOWER SELLER

Yes, we always used to get together and have fun with our parents. It isn’t always easy to get together with everyone all over. Celebrating Deepavali with parents enlightens the festival. I miss having breakfast as a family. We used to have this family time before we started our day.

LATHA, 44, BANK WORKER

Follow the culture and traditions even the world is modernized. Parents must teach their children about the Indian culture and traditions. It’s a chain, my mother taught me, I’ll teach my children, then we can carry on the traditions.

RAJES, 48, FORTUNE TELLER

Yes, it is different from how I used to celebrate during my childhood. Deepavali was more religious and cultural before. It used to bring me joy and happiness to see that. I miss the bathing in oil practice for Deepavali. We used “manjal” turmeric on the clothes before wearing them for the occasion. It was a sign of blessing.

AMBUGAM, 63, MUTTON MEAT SELLER

What the young must do during Deepavali? Give money to the elders. I want my sons to look after me, they will be the ones taking over my business. But this year, we can’t celebrate Deepavali because someone died in our family.

SUSHIL KUMAR, 55, RESTAURANT OWNER

Gambling is a must amongst the family. And 12-footer Chinese firecrackers must be released to bring prosperity. Greeting cards and lights were hung outside during Deepavali last time. But now it has evolved into WhatsApp messages. No one makes sweets any more, unlike before. Now everything is bought. What I’d like young people to do is be good and keep up the traditions and culture.

Back to Gallery
Enjoy the Deepavali stories that have
been a part of our celebrations for the past two decades.

Click on the titles below to watch the films.
    • 1996/1997/1999
      Dueling Masseurs
    • 1998/2001
      You're My Universe
    • 2000
      I See
    • 2002
      Lights
    • 2003/2009
      Boyz In Da Hood
    • 2004
      Dead Heroes
    • 2014
      The Light Within
    • 2011
      Pursuit of Perfection
    • 2010
      Giant
    • 2008
      The Wings Of A Man
    • 2007
      Thavasothy
    • 2006
      Raju vs. Raaju
  • 199619971999
    Dueling Masseurs
  • 19982001
    You're My Universe
  • 2000
    I See
  • 2002
    Lights
  • 20032009
    Boyz In Da Hood
  • 2004
    Dead Heroes
  • 2014
    The Light Within
  • 2011
    Pursuit of Perfection
  • 2010
    Giant
  • 2008
    The Wings Of A Man
  • 2007
    Thavasothy
  • 2006
    Raju vs. Raaju
Five Paatis. Five enlightening stories.
Each video is a tale of the richness of Indian culture and its traditions.

Palaniammal's Story

Listen as Palaniammal shares with us the same philosophy she teaches her own grandchildren.

Theebathilakai's Story

Theebathilakai enlightens us with the traditional way of choosing baby names and about festive decorations for the home.

Gengammah's Story

Gengammah acquaints us with how traditional jasmine garlands are made and the meaning behind festive oil lamps.

Shirley's Story

Shirley shows us how traditional kohlams are made and their significance to nature.

Malliga's Story

Malliga shares a story of how all the children in her village used to come together to celebrate Deepavali.

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