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With Diwali just around the corner, why don’t we take a stroll down the memory lane when things were easier, lights were brighter and people, closer?
October it is! My favourite time of the year. The month is full of festivities and the general mood is just happy. Today, I was sitting at my work desk fretting about not meeting my target due to the month long festivities. That’s when my thoughts drifted to how the essence of the festivals has changed.
The world is experiencing global warming and we can hardly feel the seasonal changes. But whenever I feel the initial nip in the air, it only reminds me of Diwali.
This morning I felt the sudden chill, and despite the pressure looming at work, my mind was filled with a cloud of nostalgia. Yes, Diwali it is. I don’t even remember how and when this particular festival became my favourite until I started reliving my childhood memories with my offspring.
Over the years the essence of festivals have changed for the society at large. And also personally for me, but the general spirit around this time has always been high.
My memories of Diwali has been redolent with the fragrance of besan laddoos, Mysore pak, nariyal laddoos, gujiya, badam chikkis, kaju katlis, nimki, kachoris! And mind you, all of it home made. It was my first introduction to cooking. Mom needed loads of help with scraping the nariyal, wrapping the gujiyas , shaping the nimkis and laddoos.
No sugar free sweets and we hardly knew what calories meant in our days. The preparations started a week ahead and it was a family affair. At times our neighbours joined in. The preps were done together along with the entertaining gossips about the aunty who did not join the group.
These discussions also revolved around the ever rising price of gold and how this time they only managed a silver coin or some steel utensil for the kitchen on Dhanteras.
It was so much fun sneaking a laddoo from the heap as they bragged about bargaining at the saree shop and basked in the glory of saving a few tenners.
Diwali shopping gave an adrenaline rush which the click of button shopping convenience can never give. Coming back home braving the crowd with hands full of new clothes, crackers, decorative lights, clay diyas and puja ingredients was an achievement in itself. The joy of painting the diyas and borrowing fancy glitter from friends for the rangoli can hardly be compared to the perfection of fancy LED lights or floating candles available in the market today.
Mom would be particularly happy on Diwali mornings as she wouldn’t need to wake us up or nag to bath and get ready. We would just spring out of our beds, get ready. Then we’d wait for the sun to be directly overhead for the crackers to dry up in sunlight and produce the highest decibel.
Till then, we would make good with the gun caps scaring the younger ones off. Or do some damage to the air with the saanp goli until mom would come complaining about the unfinished rangoli and decorations. No Pinterest or Google to help us with creative ideas, just last minute peeping through our neighbour’s window worked just fine.
We would eagerly wait for the Laxmi puja to be over so that we could get our hands on the scrumptious sweets. Ah! And did I mention Mom and Dad were always a beautiful sight all decked up in their uncoordinated, flashy Diwali attire. They would still give us a run for money in our designer outfits.
I am sure the thought of recycling was born with the overdose of laddoos being exchanged with friends, families and neighbours on Diwali. Sometimes the same laddoos would reach us back in a new Thermocol plate.
Thankfully Christmas is quick to follow and we could keep ourselves off of laddoos for sometime. I wonder why we never thought of any better exchange ideas unlike today . But honestly aren’t we a little disappointed to receive a beautifully wrapped pack of green tea for Diwali gift? You can choose to disagree with me on that.
The highlight of the evening would be the bursting of crackers and the competition of producing the highest decibel. We were unaware of its adverse affects on the environment.
Today I miss the non-stop sound of crackers on Diwali evenings but it is well compensated by the beautiful floating lamps filling up the evening sky. I miss the personal Diwali greetings with a plateful of laddoo and sugar loaded smile. WhatsApp forward doesn’t pass on the warmth.
I no longer carry the stole in the night while going out watching the light show because I no longer feel the chill in the air. Neither do I call in sick the next morning because I am tired of entertaining a long list of guests at home. FaceTime is more than enough.
In my limited ways, I have tried my best to keep the essence of Diwali alive through my daughter. This festival brings back myriad memories from my childhood and makes me yearn for the proximity of my loved ones.
I wish to keep it alive in my daughter and pass on the same fervour for the festival. And I only hope that it would be etched as “Homecoming” in her memories.
Picture Credits: YouTube
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