Thursday, 23 October 2014

The new face of Diwali!

Diwali – the festival of lights! A festival that is celebrated best on the funda “The more, the merrier”. So we love to have more of everything – more gifts, more crackers, more lights, more flowers, and most importantly, more love and wishes of our loved ones. For those who live away from home, there are few more of the mores – more struggle to book those leaves in office before anybody else grabs the offer, playing that fastest fingers first game on travel portals to book tickets, bearing with mammoth crowd at roads, buses and railway stations. All this just reinforces the fact that Diwali is best celebrated at home.

Having relocated to a new city recently, I feel like a bird in the sky. Sky is the limit to where the flight of destiny takes me and perhaps I should say, the world is now my home. Yet, on the festival of lights, when everyone around are looking festive and making merry, I am sitting in my balcony, venting my heart out on my laptop. While non-technically, this is my first Diwali away from home, technically, I have felt the same few years ago when I celebrated the first Diwali after marriage, away from my parents.

Diwali is the king of all festivals. I have fond memories of Diwali celebrations. Each Diwali, I used to be at my crankiest best, for the teachers used to select the girls with tall hair to play Ram, lakshman and Sita, and poor me with boy cut hair would be left out. With envy, I would look at them wearing mythological costumes and floral jewellery and wonder, all this because they have long hair! Once back home, I would announce to mom that enough was enough, and by next year, I would grow long hair and be the Sita at school function. Of course, it never happened as the Dilli ki garmi forced my parents to get my hair chopped.

Things finally got pleasant when I became part of the school choir, for diwali or no diwali, every function gave me a chance to croon on the stage, to my heart’s delight.

No matter how much I lecture about “say no to crackers”, throughout my school life, fire crackers were the best aspect of Diwali. A month before Diwali, I would hand over my list to mom, who would then take pains to go to Sadar Bazaar ( a wholesale market in Delhi) and get my stock full. I still remember, once as a 3 year old, I was handed over a burning fuljhari by my brother. I liked the sparkles so much that I decided to hold the fuljhari by the bright side. The rest, you can imagine, was an evening of hand dipped in ice water for me and lot of scolding for my brother!

As I grew up, Diwali brought out the creative best in me. We were taught to make Rangoli by our housekeeping teacher in college, and every since, Rangoli making is a tradition I follow every year. Each year, when my parents would go out to distribute sweets, brother and I would, like an express machine, decorate the house with flowers, make Rangoli and mom would always be surprised at our once in a year display of housekeeping skills.
A rangoli I made

While for the world, Diwali is a time to go out and celebrate, it creates havoc for our canine companions. Cotton buds, special room and what not – so much of effort went in each year to ensure my pet didn’t get into the panic mode by the sound of crackers.
Over the years, while the noise levels have increased, something that I see inversely proportional to it is the joy of sharing. Diwali during my parents time meant a mandatory visit to all the relatives to exchange sweets and pleasantries. But nowadays, our social sphere is going for a shrink. Is the inflation to be blamed? Well, sharing of sweets was just a bahaana…

In that respect, I appreciate the Mumbaikars living in Cooperative Housing Societies and chawls. Their houses might not boast of big balconies or private gardens, but they surely know best the joy of sharing. From kids to adults, I see them decorating every inch of my society like it is their own big home. The kids are preparing Rangolis all along the corridors and staircases.

Talking of sharing, let me share one thing that was shared to the utter discomfort of the those who share proximity. This morning, as I was lost in my dreams, the sudden sound of fire crackers at 6, woke me with a start. Was there an explosion in my dreams? I wondered. But I was awake and out of my dreams, and the noise was increasing every moment. As a surprised me, went to my balcony to check out the issue, I saw the colony kids, up and dressed up, burning crackers, at 6 in the morning! Apparently, there is some tradition among Maharashtrians to wake up early morning on Diwali, perform Puja and burn crackers before the rest of the world wakes up.

The world, truly is becoming my home!

Wishing a very happy Diwali to all my readers!

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