Children are sitting home enjoying frooti. Markets are brimming with people and people are brimming with shopping bags in their hands. Houses are being painted. Gifts are being exchanged. The smell, the sound, the lights… it’s Diwali!
For the uninitiated, it is the biggest festival in India. In a country so big and vast, many and many festivals are local or regional at best. But Diwali is one festival that I cannot imagine not being celebrated in any part of India. Every part of India has its own folklore attached to it. It is so big that it actually goes on for 5 days with main Diwali on the 3rd day. No amount of words can give you a feel of Diwali than a moment of view in the markets. No shop is empty and footpaths are full of villagers who yearn to sell a little crackers, diya or kheel-patasha by the roadside. My heart goes out to little kids asking to buy small candles; I know they are overpriced but I just can’t say no to them. Bargaining seems a luxury to me that I want to show to these people. Let’s leave this heart-wrenching topic aside because I can’t give it justice right now. Let’s just say they need an organised fancy umbrella brand like Khadi under which they themselves sell their products.
Let’s focus on my own house. We have been bombarded with many people just today with Diwali gifts. I love to rip off the wrapper and eat the sweets. But Papa says he will give it back to someone else!! I hate it. It is so unfair. Why can’t we buy something that we actually want to gift? and actually eat what we want to?! And then there are the guests who are in such a rush. It is a same ol’ story: the bell rings, I rush to catch Babu, I clean the glasses in kitchen and serve cold drinks after 5 minutes, they will most probably ask for water, I will rush back clean another glass and give water, they put the gift on the table, chat a little and run out with apologies. The more they know us, the less they will sit. They always have a long list of people whom they have already visited and some more to whom they will run afterwards. Just sit and relax; it’s a festival!
Behna just told me she left greeting cards all over the metro station for random people. Aha! Loved the idea and I think I’ll try to do something of the sort. If my depleted pocket money allows it, that is. But Diwali is not just a great festival for it. Maybe I will become a Santa Claus and give gifts to little children on Chirstmas Eve. Even though Christmas is not big day in India (don’t believe the page three hoopla in newspapers), children still like the idea of gifts — who doesn’t! I also like theme parties, but people around me are just not cut out for it.
The downside is all the noise and my Babu will have to bear the brunt of it. The bad thing about Diwali is it is synonymous with crackers (a modern tradition). So there is so much sound and pollution that Babu and her kin have to go in deeep hibernation. She barks and cries but nothing changes. For 2-3 hours till midnight there are so many bombs going off everywhere that you can’t talk to people standing next to you. And then there is the smoke. Diwali is one night when nobody can sleep a peacefully. Babu hates Diwali and I hate it too for making it hell for her. But overall it is still a big day. Even though the magic has worn off, the excitement remains. Happy Diwali!