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N. Jayanthi (left) with her mother-in-law K. Popamal and nephew Ram Kumar making final preparations for the Deepavali festival at Kerilla estate in Tanah Merah. Pic by SYAMSI SUHAIMI.
N. Jayanthi (left) with her mother-in-law K. Popamal and nephew Ram Kumar making final preparations for the Deepavali festival at Kerilla estate in Tanah Merah. Pic by SYAMSI SUHAIMI.

TANAH MERAH: Deepavali may be 10 days away, but 83 Indian families in the Kerilla estate here have started making the necessary preparations to celebrate the joyous occasion.

Local resident N. Jayanthi said despite being the minority community here, they plan to celebrate Deepavali on a grand scale in the estate, which is located in the interior of Kelantan.

She said although the Festival of Lights falls on Oct 18, she and her mother-in-law have begun decorating their house since yesterday.

“It has been our practice to deck our wooden house with various flowers and place decorations at the doorstep,” the 50-year-old rubber tapper told the New Straits Times today.

She added that her nephew, R. Ram Kumar, is helping to decorate the house as her husband is unwell.

Jayanthi also said her mother-in-law, K. Popamal, 72, is excited about celebrating Deepavali this year.

“She keeps asking me to start baking murukku because she is afraid we can’t finish cooking the main dishes by the time her children and grandchildren arrive home.”

Meanwhile, Ram Kumar said he spent about three hours decorating his aunt’s house before going to work today.

“It is customary for the Indian community to decorate their houses nicely every time we celebrate Diwali.

“Even though there are only 83 Indian families here, we still celebrate the festival every year with joy,” he said, adding that there were 160 Malay and four Chinese families living in the estate.

The 27-year-old said their Malay and Chinese neighbours would often join in the festivities.

“This estate is special because all of us live together in harmony and we always celebrate all festivals together.

“We are like a family here because many of us have been living in the estate for many generations,” he said.

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