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When Squid Game Meets Diwali Dhamaka

Nothing was a task or a chore, as everyone would be full of enthusiasm to help in whichever way possible. Everything was done together, from cleaning and decorating the house to making sweets and rangolis.

Most of us are familiar with Squid Game by now. It is a Korean series, one of the most-watched, smash hit shows on Netflix. (You can see the logo in the custom designed picture on the header image here)

A clandestine organisation challenges 456 players from all walks of life – each sunken in debt – to play a series of children’s games. Win and they go home with 4.6 billion won. 6 different games are played, and in the end, there is only one winner.

So let’s play this mysterious game, but with a twist, it’s ‘Diwali – Squid Game Style’.

Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves and get ready for an adventurous and entertaining ride ahead, let the festivities begin.

Participants – all the family members and friends.

Tasks – are umpteen and the

Final moolah – let’s keep it a surprise.

Game 1: Red light, Green light

The first thing that comes to mind as soon as Diwali is nearing is – ‘Saaf Saafai’ – the dreaded time has arrived. The great Indian home cleaning challenge.

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One specific weekend is typically selected for this cumbersome and humungous task. Participants are given a heads up to be ready, and participation is absolutely mandatory.

On the decided day, the game begins by bringing out a battery of deep cleaning liquids and scrubs, all kinds of brooms (the long one, the short one,…) and loads of mops. Every nook and corner of the entire house has to undergo this torture of getting scrubbed and cleaned, removing the most stubborn stains, vacuuming and blowing every smallest space. Emptying the contents – from the cupboards, closets, wardrobes, cabinets and storerooms, to be sorted and segregated into useful and useless stuff. It is time for some major decluttering.

The mind says, “Be practical, throw it away”, heart says, “Keep it! It’s a memory.”

The wife says, “Keep this,” the husband says, “Throw it, give it away.”

This is where the husband and I are at loggerheads. He wants to go all Marie Kondo, whereas I’m more of a hoarder. I want to keep all the boxes of EVERYTHING.

When I say every box, I mean even the toy boxes of barbie dolls we got for my daughter. She is already in her teens now and the barbie is in pieces and already donated, but the box? We still have it!

So you get the drift?

It’s practicality versus MEMORIES.

That’s our red light, green light.

At the end of the day, all that goes in the trash or give away bag got a red light and was eliminated, and all that stays was lucky, as it got the coveted green light.

Let’s just say I’ll give this round to him.

Game 2: Honeycomb Sugar Candy

Once the house is sparkling clean, it’s time to start preparing the traditional Diwali sweets and snacks. After all, what’s Diwali without the special food… chakli, chivda, laddoo, naankhatai… the list goes on. Mind you, everything used to be home-made, added with a special ingredient – loads of love.

One of the most important being Gujiya, also called Karjikai or Karigadubu (in Kannada), Kajjikayalu (in Telugu), Ghughra (in Gujarati), Karanji (in Maharashtra) and Somas (in Tamil).

Making a perfect ghughra is no less than an art. My grandmother was a real artist, she effortlessly made exact half-moon shaped ghughras with perfectly pinched and pleated edges.

In this game, those who couldn’t design flawless edges, did not fill in the exact amount of stuffing, were expelled till they practised to perfection.

I used to be out of the game too, more often than not.

The outer covering of my gujiyas used to be the map of India a couple of years ago. They got promoted to amoebas, followed by the full moon (almost).

Eventually, I mastered the art and now, I can make perfect half-moon shaped, delicious ghughras with well-defined edges and perfect stuffing and not to forgot, loads of love.

They’re a must every Diwali.

Honey Comb Sugar Candy – Won.

Game 3: Tug of War

House cleaned, sweets and savouries prepared.

Moving on, we have to decorate the house with lovely torans, put up the lights (it used to be a row of colourful zero bulbs), and buy new clothes too. A well decorated, clean and a brightly lit household, adorned with a beautiful rangoli, is perfect invitation for Lakshmi ji. After all, we all want her to bless us with wealth and prosperity.

“I’ll put up the lights… no I will. I will make the lantern… no, hang the lantern I made. I’ll buy these clothes… no buy me those.”

When I was a child, buying new clothes happened only once a year, that’s during Diwali. The budget allocated those days wasn’t too ambitious, where all the siblings get to buy the clothes of their choice. The lanterns too weren’t store bought, we used to enjoy making our own star lanterns or sometimes the typical Kandil.

Parents had to cut corners. It was a tough battle of tug of war. One had to be intelligent as well as vocal to win this round. I did better than my siblings, more so because I’m the youngest (wink, wink).

Tug of War – It’s a Victory!

Game 4: Game of Marbles

Let’s proceed to the next level, this round is a challenging round, winning may be difficult.

Generally, it’s the siblings who are the participants in this game.

Time to grab the sweets and the firecrackers. One who wins gets it all.

As kids, I remember how my brother used to keep an eye on my share of firecrackers. I would save them to be burst them over 5 days of Diwali festival, he, on the other hand, would burst them all away, at a go. Then he would come snooping around to steal mine. I had to be really innovative in searching different places to hide them. (You’re free to let your imagination run wild here!).

The same holds true for sweets too. He would gobble up his share in no time and then eye mine. He had the knack of tricking me into giving him everything.

Maybe my brother would find a way of getting my share of crackers and sweets,  but I would get even, you know how? Diwali cash gift covers… I would take them away from him. And guess what we bought with the money? More crackers.

Game of marbles? Nailed it.

Game 5: The Glass Bridge

Diwali, the festival of lights, is mainly celebrated in honour of Lord Ram’s return to his kingdom in Ayodhya, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, after staying in exile for 14 years. Diwali falls on a new moon day, the sky is dark. Whole of Ayodhya was brightly lit up with umpteen number of diyas to welcome Lord Ram.

That’s where this game comes into the picture. Mind you, it’s not easy.

Brightly lit row of diyas and candles are placed all around the balcony and the verandah. Be careful when you walk, lest you end up knocking one of them down.

There was a time when we ended up dropping a lamp on the uncle living downstairs. Luckily it was not lit, but an oil stain on a white shirt greeted us when we went to apologise. Let me inform you… Gujiyas help with anger management (wink, wink).

The same goes for the colourful and beautiful rangolis. We had twenty houses in a row, all verandahs connected. Each household had sort of competition, as to who’s rangoli is the most colourful and biggest. We had to be extremely careful while running around in the verandah or else we would end up stepping on someone’s rangoli. You can imagine the firing we would get if at all that happens. Trust me it’s really bad, I’ve been at the receiving end of this firing. After all, they’ve put in hours of hard work for the final output of such an incredible rangoli. Thankfully again, gujiyas and shakkarpadas were there at our rescue.

The Glass Bridge CONQUERED.

Game 6: The Final Diwali Game

The winner gets it all.

D Day has arrived and it’s time to dress up in the new clothes for Laxmi Pooja. The whole family would gather, while elders performed the Pooja, we would just fold our hands and squint our eyes to check if is it done yet. The best part was after the Pooja, we would be treated to a grand feast, burst firecrackers and, last but not the least, receive a lot of envelopes (covers with money) from our elders. Yay! It’s collection time. We would stay up late enjoying the festivities.

The next day is the New Year according to the Hindu calender. We used to wake up early, take bath, wear new clothes, visit the temple and then wish each other ‘Saal Mubarak’.

All the neighbourhood kids would be dressed in their best attires, together we would go to each one’s house. The main attraction here was getting to relish loads of yummy sweets and savouries, some of them used to offer Kaju Katli and dry fruits too – that would be icing on the cake.

Touch the feet of the elders, take their blessings, wish ‘Saal Mubarak’, wait for them to serve the snacks. Next house, a repeat of the same sequence.

So as our desi style Squid Game with a dash of Diwali Dhamaka concludes, what did we win?

A super clean house, amazing bonding and family time. Lots and lots of amazing food to binge on…Pocket full of riches, but the real winner is – hearts filled with hope and inner peace.

The winner gets it all.

Dear readers,

Such beautiful and innocent were the celebrations those days. These little gestures brought ample happiness and cheer to our lives. Diwali is nostalgic, brings back the most cherished memories.

Nothing was a task or a chore, as everyone would be full of enthusiasm to help in whichever way possible. Everything was done together, from cleaning and decorating the house to making sweets and rangolis.

This was the biggest win of all.

In the last round, the demons would be left far away and the real winner here was hope and inner peace!

Wish you all beautiful souls a healthy, peaceful and a prosperous Diwali, surrounded by your loved ones.

Hope you loved my unique take on this prompt, do leave your valuable comments and show your love. Your feedback helps me write even better.

Thank you readers!

Image source: Pixabay and @theartstop on Instagram 

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About the Author

Heena Shah

Mother to a bubbly teenager and a student of psychology, I am also a travel enthusiast. I love to observe the happenings around me and weave them into beautiful stories. A writer with a passion read more...

9 Posts | 9,420 Views

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