There is something about Diwali (and Dussera too). It does something to the atmosphere around. The changes are so palpable. The weather takes a turn towards chillness. People are nostalgic about home, people take vacations no matter what ( my sisters colleagues have no leaves since they are in training period and they don't earn very high bucks either. But just for one day to be with family on Diwali, they have taken flights spending nearly half their monthly salaries and gone home! )It makes you want to be with your loved ones. It makes people scoot from office early. It makes you feel like cooking something special in spite of having slogged at office for good 9 hours. Everyone wishing the other person a happy Diwali just spreads the cheer magically. I am not sure if thats the case with everyone, but I feel so festively happy! As they say we should search for excuses to be happy - I do so oh so often.
Last year Diwali was my first one after marriage. The first Diwali after wedding is a very highlighted affair in TamilNadu. But I must confess, it started off on a very bad note for the lack of education. I had no idea, how differently it is celebrated in TamilNadu compared to back at my paternal place in Orissa. At my parents place, the whole day is spent in decorating the house and keeping things ready for the big bang in the evening. We spend the day fishing for diyas, counting the number of them still preserved from the past years, asking dad to scurry and get some more, deciding on which design to put the diyas and the rangoli in, helping mom in cooking the yummiliciuos breakfast, lunch and dinner. I always remember the night before Diwali we all deciding on the elaborate menus. We sisters were never of much help, but we used to keep talking around the kitchen and generally giving my mom company while she sweated over the dishes. Food and talks in the morning and evening would be spent on the veranda and terrace placing the diyas and then it would be cracker time! See...... this is what Diwali does.... makes you feel so nostalgic.
But last year, since I was not aware, how Diwali starts in TamilNadu before the break of dawn, there was a bit of upset emotions at home. And morning does show the day, so there was nothing to write home about for the entire day. There were forced smiles and uneasy reconciliations. But then, people learn. Last year I was a newbie, still adjusting to the symphony played here( I had read this analogy in some other blog and borrowed it :) ) This year, I was ready with my own composition apart from being ready to do my part for the original orchestra. I took my own time and space and got ready in the morning. We were invited for lunch to K's aunt's house. On the way back, I bought diyas (its not a tradition out here to light diyas on Diwali - they do so on another day called Karthik Deepam I guess ) . But then, a little extra celebration does not hurt at all. So all armed with the diyas and rangoli colors, I set forth in the evening to celebrate Diwali as I know it. Made some patterns on the balcony and the front door and places those lovely diyas. It is really heartening to see the diyas fight out the winds and stay aflame - it fills me with a very positive vibe. The words tamasoma jyotir gamaya (from darkness let us move to light) subconsciously keeps reverberating in my mind. The icing on the cake came when one neighbor aunty came and said "Perfect blend of north and south, only this apartment is lighted with all these small diyas and looks very cute from a distance." I had an ear to ear grin :D
Decorations done, I caught up with friends and family. What if we are not together, we should use technology to the max. For that matter since early morning K and I were making lots of calls. Evening I spoke with some very close friends and my mom and sister for hours on end. Dinner was parathas with curd and I made some extra coconut laddus to carry to office. (Diwali makes you put in that extra effort right?)An early end to the spirited day gave me the most rested feeling. Next year, I plan a bigger better evening. More sweets, more intricate designs, more savories, more time with my family.
It was a good Diwali, touchwood. And people I cared for had a good Diwali. I was concerned for a friend of mine who was all alone. But then, when I called and checked up with her, she had surprise company. My sister who was away from home for the first time, was also doing fine. The world does hold a mirror to ones own thoughts.
I hope all my readers had a wonderful Diwali. And here s wishing you all lots of good times ahead.