As we all know that Diwali is one of the biggest festivals of India along with Holi. And it is no secret that these festivals are best celebrated with one’s near and dear one’s – with your family, in your own house – the #GharWaliDiwali.
I fondly remember that as a kid in the 1990’s Diwali meant so much to us. The wait for the festival would start as soon as new calendars were brought in the house (December end) – we would quickly turn the leaflets to search for Diwali dates. It was not too difficult to find them either as a whole chunk of dates would be colored in ‘Red’ sometime in October or November. The planning would start right then (yes, 8-9 months in advance!!) – what would we buy, of all the chocolates that we could get our hands on, what gift would our parents give us, where would we travel during the 25 day long school vacations, etc.
With a few weeks left for the festival, my parents would take me out to do some shopping – 2-3 t-shirts and a solitary jeans – which would have to last at least until next Diwali!! The markets would be brimming with people, all happy, smiling faces – most of them buying probably for the first time in months!! My parents would also buy me a large box of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk if I refrained from buying crackers (bribing starts early in India you see!!).
We would then start waiting for the school to shut as the real fun and non-stop games could then begin in earnest! On the last day of school, before it closed for vacations, we would all sing in our school bus until our voices became hoarse and the grin on our faces could tell a story unto themselves!
Morning to evening cricket sessions followed with small breaks for only lunch and some tv in the afternoon. Soon the cousin’s arrived and the fun factor multiplied with us running all around the house enjoying ourselves to the fullest.
On the day of Diwali, we would get up early and wear our new dresses and then visit the temple in the morning. The home would be a concoction of scent’s with the aromatic fragrance of the flowers used to decorate the house to the earthy smell of those earthen diya’s to the sickly sugary aroma of the kheer being prepared by my Grandma in the kitchen! We kid’s would then make a round of the homes in the locality – each one would welcome us with a huge smile accompanied with some sweets and occasionally chocolates!!
The Diwali puja would be held in the evening at our Grandfather’s house where the whole family would gather. Grandfather always insisted that the kid’s should eat first and so we all sat in a neat straight line and would gorge on what was probably the best and most luxurious meal we would have in the whole year!!
The day after Diwali would probably see travelling somewhere for a few days or I would get to visit my maternal Grandmother for a few days where I caught up with my cousins from that side of the family!
All these memories came flooding back as I read the topic on Indiblogger, ‘Diwali – A time for family’! How times changed as I, along with two of my friends attempted a risky maneuver to escape from the hostel campus some 10 years ago so that we could celebrate Diwali at home – Read about that daredevilry here, or how I will come home for a few days next week to celebrate Diwali at my house. The festival of Diwali brings those childhood memories to the fore and it is great to be able to celebrate it at your own house where my mother still pampers me like a kid. Diwali was and will always remain special for the joy it gives, for the smiles it spreads and for the gourmet delights that one can binge on without feeling guilty!!
Always remember that the best Diwali is the Diwali celebrated with your family or #GharWaliDiwali!!