Now, that the Diwali is over…!!!

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It’s been a week since Diwali! No more Chinese fairy lights blinking from people’s verandahs or windows. No more diyas glowing in the night. And (I am thankful for this one) no more phatakas waking you up at odd hours in the night. Life has resumed its dreary monotone. This is the toughest part…the aftermath of Diwali!

The whole year, we look forward to Diwali. Our life revolves around Diwali. Cleaning the home, buying new things with just one goal in mind – Diwali’s coming! And when the Diwali comes, it’s a frenzy. Snacks and (and lots of it), sweets, crackers, diyas and candles, rangolis and trains, pages and visiting the temple, meeting friends and family, baksheesh and bonus, those 5 days are a mad mad mad mad party. And then, as if in the blink of the eye, the day comes when you are preparing tiffin and getting ready for work again, and it dawns on you that Diwali has gone. It leaves a sense of emptiness in you.

Mind you, I was not a big fan of Diwali. As a child growing up in Ahmedabad, I dreaded Diwali. 5 days of post-Diwali holidays meant a never ending horde of guests turning up announced (mobile phones hadn’t found their way yet and the laid back attitude of Amdawadis stopped them from calling up before knocking at your door), serving them food and tea, and then washing vessel till late in the night (no domestic help as they took a break too during this time). I stopped applying nail paint (even though the holidays were the only time we could) because it didn’t last even a day.

Well, in Mumbai, I have learnt, that Diwali is all about celebrating the festival at your own pace. People don’t bother you, they just don’t. I prepare sweets at home, draw different rangolis, prepare for the Lakshmi Pujan, go for a drive into the city to check out the beautiful lightings in the night and have (it’s mandatory) ice cream. The next few days, we meet family and a few friends over a leisurely brunch or dinner and catch a movie or two in the theater.

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I have actually started enjoying Diwali and miss it when it is over! And, so again the wait begins for the next Diwali!

Do you feel this lost too once Diwali, Eid or Christmas get over?

 

 

 

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I am buying nothing this Diwali!!

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A few years ago, while going through old photographs of my father, I came across this particular picture in black and white. It was of my young father and his siblings standing together. What was particularly interesting about this picture was the clothes they were all wearing… because they were all wearing the same clothes. The same vertical line high collared shirts and plain bell bottomed pants. All the girls were wearing the same salwar-kameez. On inquiry, my father reminisced about his old days, “Those were the days. Can you imagine, we would get new clothes only on Diwali or on a family member’s wedding. Not even birthdays!”

On looking at my shocked face, he said,”We didn’t have luxury in those days to choose our own clothes. Once a year, that is, on Diwali, our father would ask the local cloth merchant to deliver a few rolls of cloth, the tailor would come home and take the measurement of each child and thus on Diwali, all clothes in the exact same colour, pattern and style were ready.”

We were slightly better off than our parents. Apart from Diwali, we would get a new set of clothes on birthdays. That’s it!

And, today, the scene is totally incomparable. I buy clothes for my daughter without consulting the Hindu calendar. Whenever I feel like or whenever there is a sale (both online and offline), I get new stuff for her. She has more clothes and shoes than occasions to wear them.

While doing my Diwali cleaning, I realized how much materialistic we have become. I have clothes lying in my cupboard with their price tags intact. Our life has become all about acquiring and possessing. More, more and more!

Holding on to this thought, when the big Diwali sales  announced on all major shopping sites, I refrained from buying. Not even a single pair of shoes for me or a dress for my daughter. She is going to wear an old dress on Diwali, and that is alright. Millions of other children do, she will do too.

I want to teach my daughter the true value of Diwali – (no, it is not to buy new things, but) to be content with whatever you have, to share them with others and to find joy in the small things of life.

I want her to grow up not fretting over Diwali shopping, but thinking of Diwali as the festival to be enjoyed with family, friends and the less fortunate ones.

PS: My daughter and I have already taken out a horde of things; clothes (some old and new), hair accessories (even unused ones), shoes and toys which we are going to go on the New Year day to a nearby orphanage and the YWCA and offer to the people there.

Daan Utsav doesn’t have to be limited to a week, it can be whenever you want! So, why not on Diwali, the festival of goodness and kindness!