Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Diwali that I grew up with....

Diwali for me meant getting up early, making colorful rangoli outside the main door. This rangoli business was a saga by itself. One was never happy with the design , so several attempts were made to get it to the level of expectation.  Lighting up diyas- making wicks and pouring oil and re-lighting all those that went out with wind. Stringing together marigold flowers to make long garlands for all doors, this I am told is strictly Maharashtrian  custom, buying ready made garlands was too expensive. Help mom in making namkins. The aroma of sauteed besan, for making besan ka ladoo was just heavenly. The perfect frying of chaklis. The crisp chiwda. Oh the effort that Mom took over it! I gave up bursting crackers when I was 13 -14 years old, in protest against child labourers used in Sivkashi factories and never ever turned back  to it. new clothes were made, so fabric had to be purchased, designs were fussed upon and then were tailored by mom.There was this huge excitement about wearing new clothes on Diwali day. Elaborate Laxmi pujan. and the wonderful prasad after it. Visiting various aunts and uncles in the evening and eating sweets and namkins. Comparisons were obvious about which aunt made these Diwali specialties better than others or us. Neighbours and relatives sent across plates filled with sweets and namkins. I don't remember  a single year receiving or sending plates across on Diwali- who does that any more? Bhai-duj was a mela, with so many cousins, one was bound to get rich.

As I grew up, started to work, traditions turned into convenience. I married a Bengali, so Diwali got less significant over the years. I got too tired working long hours, so getting up early became difficult(long hours were a part of my work). I still get up and make Rangolis, but fuss much less over it. Most of my family is fast asleep. Garlands are ready made. Nobody ate savouries at my home so I stopped bothering about it. And if did get into the mood of making some, I just made and gave it to my friends. One impulsively buys clothes through the year so it took the fun out of wearing new clothes on Diwali.There were no aunts and uncles in Mumbai , so no one just went any where except movie theatres and malls. I hate card parties, so thankfully never got into them.Visit to Mom's house became a one day event at best 2 days. Bhai-duj happened only with my brother now. My aunt calls me but my better half would like to spend time with his friends, who drink and eat non-veg. Who wants to eat savouries on Diwali? or my family would much prefer to eat at Mainland China than eat simple home food that day.

Every time I go to my mom's or my granny's house I feel twinge of sadness, all the small- small traditions that I associated Diwali with for one quarter of a century got left behind in the next 18 years of work life. And a small part of old me got slowly left behind by a new me.

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