Diwali for me

It's that time of the year again. Few lucky ones get to be home to celebrate the festival of crackers lights, for those majority of us who don't get to be home, all we can do is soak ourselves in nostalgia, remember the good old days and try to get in touch with people on social media. Here's my share of soaking in nostalgia.

Diwali for me used to be about crackers, annual home cleaning, whitewashing, decorating the house with lights, delicious food, the ceremonies on Diwali eve, the wait to get done with those ceremonies so we kids can go out and get started with our crackers, and so much more. It all began a month or two in advance when the whitewashing and cleaning started, with a few folks from Prakash mamaji's mandali (Prakash mamaji - a short, lean, super calm (how he managed all that chaos is beyond me) tobacco chewing person - was the whitewashing contractor who became very close to the family over the years) working day and even nights as Diwali grew closer. Ever wondered how some smells and fragrances transport you back in time - once such smell for me is a mixture of dust and varnish and paint and evenings.


My school declared generous holidays for both Dusshera and Diwali. Navratri, Durga puja and Dusshera deserve a separate post so i'll skip that part. Prior to school holidays, the ritual of giving handmade Diwali greeting cards to teachers was also completed. As Diwali approached, the kid circle started discussing the kind of firecrackers each one bought. One time one of father's friends gifted a box full of crackers, other time we got big rifle style shooters for crackers. Once the crackers were bought, another custom was to dry them in sun (so they burn better) over the course of few days prior to Diwali. The usual cracker arsenal included fuljhadi, anardana, chakri, different kind of "bums" (including atom bum, sutli bum and laxmi bum), ladi, saanp ki goli, hunter, tikli and of course different kinds of rockets (like multicolored, regular, parachute and one that made a whistling noise). We were ever so eager to try our hands at few of the crackers, that we often sneaked out to test some of small ones before Diwali eve.


Diwali is a 5 day festival. Dhanteras, Narak Chaudas (Chhoti Diwali), Diwali eve, Govardhan pooja and Bhai dooj. Another fond childhood Diwali memory is from the time when we celebrated Diwali in my village, on Narak Chaudas I used to accompany my uncle and cousins to the river where we washed the tractor and other vehicles and bathed our cattle (yes, that's right!). On Diwali eve, the pooja consisted of lighting up a LOT of diyas and placing them throughout the house (in balcony, rooftop, verandah, garden, outside gate, kitchen). As soon as the pooja was done, I used to devour the delicious sweets in the name of prasad. Ma ensured that we kids ate some of the regular dinner (which was grand in itself) as well. All the colony kids used to gather at the street corner in front of my uncle's house for lighting up the crackers. The show usually lasted a couple of hours until we ran out of major firecrackers. Another unique thing that i and my sister did was to go on the rooftop later in the evening, to see the different fireworks in the sky.


There is so much that could be written here. There is so much to be said. No matter how much i try, i'll fall short in expressing the immense joy that Diwali brought to me as a kid. Now - scarred permanently by time and life - Diwali will not be the same. Yet, i'm sure, there are new meanings to be found, in this Diwali and in the ones to come. 


Wish you all a very Happy Diwali.


3 comments:

Swati said...

Mummy ko padh ke sunaya .. i remember the box of crackers. Rifle wala yaad nai. Mummy ko yaad hai. Very nicely written, took us back to the good old days.. u r right. Diwali will never be the same .. still .. its diwali..wishing both of u a very happy one.. :')

Vidisha Barwal said...

yes Diwali will not be same... as it was..during our childhood days..
and hey! the good old list revived by you of all the crackers...atom, laxmi bum haha...ek murga chhaap bhi aata tha yar. ;)
:D

Aadii said...

@Swati, :))

@Vidisha, Oh yes! How can i forget Murga-chhaap!! :)