Growing up, Diwali was the king of festivals! I remember the excitement it used to bring!
Our domestic help used to clean the home. Or should I say – wash? Yes, everyday, one room was selected, furniture moved out to the backyard, walls washed with soap and then water, floors washed, cupboards rearranged, lights changed, fans serviced, curtains washed and perfumed.. and in a week, it would become a brand new home! For me, it meant lounging with my friends on furniture in the backyard, below the shade of our mango tree and talking aimlessly and gorging on diwali snacks!
Talking about snacks, we called a bhaiyya every year who specialised in snacks. And our garage used to turn to snacks-shop for a day. All kinds of farsaan was prepared for offering to the guests who would visit on Diwali!
The cousins used to come for a week. And we visited every relative in town. In Diwali, it is customary to touch feet of elders as a mark of respect (or formality!) and in return, they give some money as blessing! At the end of all visits, the count began – on who earned the most and then, what we buy out of it! Mostly, it wasn’t more than (unbranded) wrist watch or a small board game, but earning that money was awaited the whole year!
Crackers can be a post in itself! Dad had a client who manufactured crackers. So every year, we got amazing deal – more crackers for less money! And each one of us was given a bucket. Every night after mom lighted the diyas, the distribution of crackers for the night began! And we used to carry our buckets out like a soldier carrying his arms!! Slow race (as in, who manages to be the last one to burst crackers) gave us a high!!
Watching the home getting all lit up by earthen diyas, getting decked up in new clothes, visiting relatives, earning money, bursting crackers, having the time of life was what made Diwali special!
Today, I think that Diwali no longer means what I described above. I just wish to escape from all this bheed-bhaad, shor-sharaaba to some place with Simba & Happy!
And this year, we made that escape to my hometown! Me and sister made a flower rangoli, all of lazed around, gorging on mummy-made-delicious food and had a peaceful diwali! Of course, the earthen diyas still hold that charm!