Diwali away from home

It’s not always about the place you have lived all your life in. It is usually about the people you have lived with that the memories are filled of. It is the family, the friends, the bunch of folks you are comfortable hanging out with, the jokes you share with them which only they fully understand. That’s what memories are made of. Same applies to the festivals. It’s always about the people you celebrate with. First Diwali away from home, away from India didn’t feel like Diwali at all.

It came. And it went. Nothing exceptional about it.

Back home, Diwali fervour begins much before the festival actually begins. The atmosphere is charged with festive and celebratory mood many a weeks in advance. There is a tell-tell excitement about the holidays, about the festival, about the visits from families living away from home, about meeting your loved ones. That is Diwali to me.

The house is thoroughly scrubbed down, all the hoarded junk is cleared out, a fresh coat of paint is given just before Diwali, expensive chinaware reserved only for festivals and special occasions is brought out, varieties of sweets and savouries are made, elaborate lunch and dinner party plans are chalked out, invitations go out, lights and lanterns stacked away in the back of the cupboards are brought out and artistically put up, presents for families and friends are bought, beautiful rangolis adorning the front of the house are made, and best of the shimmery, glittery costumes are worn for the Diwali Pooja. People wait until Diwali to make that big purchase of the year; that washing machine or that fridge or that LED TV or that car that they have long desired is brought during Diwali. Shops make a crisp business. That is Diwali to me.

The glimmering lights from the hundreds of thousands of diyas and lanterns around the city, splendid fireworks going off every now and then, the smell of incense sticks permeating the house, fresh flowers in the vase, big, bright smiles on the faces of children jumping with joy, making most of their holidays and having a field day with chocolates and sweets and even adults letting them indulge. That is Diwali to me.

Away from home in NZ, it was just not the same. There was a huge Diwali celebration held by the Indian Association here, which saw a huge turnout of crowds, Indians and non-Indians. But it was more like a Bollywood night or some annual day function way back from school. Groups from different parts of India performing their folk dances. Nothing ‘Diwali” about it L

TCG and I tried to recreate that magic in our own little way. We have no relatives here. But we visited the temple on the New Year’s. On the day of Diwali, we performed a small pooja at home, lit up the house with tea light candles and made a few sweets and savouries. We tried to celebrate with as much spirit as we could. We made many Skype calls with our families and tried to make most of what we could.

It was just not the same. This is not what Diwali is to me.

P.S: My Diwali post from 2 years ago

 

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Why is this Diwali extra special?

This is my favourite time of the year – the Diwali time. I have written about Diwali last year as well. Here. So wow, that also means I have completed a year of blogging. Yay! And I only just realised that.  🙂

There are just so many reasons why I, like so many others, love Diwali. Everything about Diwali is just so warm and beautiful, the diyas, the lanterns, the LED lights, the surroundings that is submerged in subdued golden hue from the zillion lights from every house, the food, the indulgences (in my case always accompanied by guilt…sigh), the festivities, the sweets, the exchange of greetings, the hugs, the blessings, the baksheesh, the new beautiful clothes, the crackers, the sky fireworks… IT IS ALL SO PRETTY!

But this year Diwali is extra extra special for me. Why? Ummm… because I am walking down the aisle very soon, in about a month’s time. There. Said that. I am not very comfortable doing family and personal posts, so I have delayed writing about this for the longest time possible. But then, how could I not share this bit of news with all of you my readers? So after much deliberation, I finally decided I will write about it. Yes, yes it’s also your cue to wish me 😛

Now, that should explain to you my disappearing acts, my sporadic posts, my less than regular replies to your comments and my seldom comments on your blogs. You know how busy and tiring this whole marrying business can be, there are just so many things to do and there is just so little time. Dress trials, shopping trips, invitations, pre-preparations, wedding cards and what not? And between all this I am trying my best to be everywhere and do everything. I want to spend as much time as possible with my parents and family and near dear friends before my life does a summersault and completely changes, and before I go miles away and the physical distance between us drives us apart.

So yes, that is why this Diwali is extra special. And no one around me lets me forget this even for a second that I will be here with them just for a while and so everything they say to me has an extra emotional undertone to it. Or so I think. For e.g.:

“Don’t count your calories, you might not get to eat this next Diwali”

“You will not be here next Diwali, won’t you miss the whole craze that Diwali is?”

My Mom: “Don’t save your best clothes for later any more, when else will you get a chance to wear them? I think you should definitely wear this pretty Salwar Kameez today itself, you might not get a chance to wear this again.”

“Eat this mithai, you are surely going to miss this big time”

My dad: “Who will correct my spellings now?” To that, I feel like rolling my eyes at him and shouting that you can always phone me dad or text me, we can skype, you can email me. Seriously?!

My brother: “Who will I fight with for TV’s remote?” To him I feel like saying, at least I am not going to miss TV-remote-fights plisssss. Or may be I will, who knows?

So you get the drift of what I am saying, right? Everyone’s emotions are running high and nothing they say or do is casual anymore. They all want to do their best to give me lasting memories from my last days of singlehood with them. And I? To say I am overjoyed will be an understatement. I am choked with all the attention and TLC coming my way. And to get maximum of this very well-deserved TLC, I have also resigned from my work two days ago, so that I can spend maximum time with my family and friends making memories that I will treasure for years to come, and that will all be saved hidden in a quiet corner of my heart in that little golden chest that has that golden ribbon and little tinkling bells and stay there forever, for me to go back to them and access them again and again at my will in one of those lonely moments that are sure to come when I miss home.

Karan Johar wasn’t exaggerating when he said it’s all about loving your family! 😉