I now feel sorry for my own naivete which led me into believing that the immense happiness this festival always brought with itself originated from the flames of the diyas that my grandmother used to lit at the dusk’s arrival, the new clothes that everyone wore around me (including the people whom I seldom saw wearing fancy thing throughout the year), further lightened by the crackers that my sister used to burst in our aangan under the supervision of my uncle, and finally culminating in the brightness of those 16 sacred diyas that my aunt used to lit in front of the deity in the hall of my house, that were left to last for the entire night.
As it now strikes me how each sentence I wrote has been associated with at least one family member.
It all began with ‘the Poojan’, but since I am not so good at describing things that I never fully understood in the first place, I will skip that part.
Very vividly do I recall what happened post ‘the Poojan’. The sweets would be distributed, and as I happen to come from a very small place where we have this tradition of gathering at all the acquaintance’s houses for ‘the Poojan’, I remember how my friends and I used to race down to the next closest scheduled house for ‘the Poojan’, dodging the chakris and the other crackers in the path. Never in my 21 years- well this is an exact count of the number of years I have celebrated Diwali with my family- had I ever succeeded in accompanying my family to all other acquaintance’s houses, as I would either be bored(which truly wasn’t the case most of the times), or my affinity towards the crackers would eventually drag me back to the closet where they awaited me.
I would thus sneak out, thinking that no one noticed me(I told you, I feel sorry for my naivete) while now I feel they knew that days like the one I am having today were about to follow. They always knew.
As I now recall, it all appears conspicuously that how audacious my sister and some other children in my surrounding had been as they never feared any kind of the crackers. As far as I am concerned, I always wanted to buy the crackers albeit most of them were burst by others. Post all the cracker bursting session, all my siblings would retire to the bed(which was often the mattresses that lay contiguous to each other, with bed-sheets of all possible colors covering them as if this were intentional keeping into mind the festival), and we’d fight over which Diwali show would run on the television as we outnumbered the number of televisions in the house(which is often the case, everywhere).
Sitting here alone with every possible gadget at my disposal, with new movies of legendary actors releasing in the theaters, with the sound of the crackers bursting around me, with numerous shows being telecast simultaneously providing a number of options to choose from, and despite the fact that the only one to make a choice is me; I find myself helpless, and find solace in recollecting all I can and jotting it down here.
Lucky are those who are celebrating the most prominent festival with their family, and for the rest- Happy Diwali and my wishes that may this Diwali bring you happiness in amounts more than ever before, and more importantly may you be in the category of the lucky ones, the next time.
For Diwali is not the same without the family. And the family doesn’t enjoy it much without you.
Happy Diwali everyone.