Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Diwali

Today is Diwali and I am in Australia this year. Its mid–afternoon here and I am staring out of the window. This is an activity that takes up significant portion of my ‘working’ time on most days. The window gives me inspiration…..to continue staring.  It’s a bright and sunny day outside but the Melbourne weather has the mood swings of a cranky PMS affected woman and I am sure that by the time I complete writing this piece, it would have grown dark, rained thrice in funny three minute slots, endured a small hailstorm in the suburbs and have become bright and sunny again, much like the truant kid who had turned the house upside down while his mother went shopping only to clean up his mess just before she arrived back. The dripping chocolate from the sides of his mouth and the broken vase fragments hurriedly swept behind the book shelf, being the small indicators of what had transpired in the mother’s absence.

With an unbelievably small percentage of Indians employed in this office, the day is hardly of any significance to most around me and it progresses with alarming monotony. I check the widely circulated photograph of the satellite imagery of India on Diwali and while I have my doubts on its authenticity, it does have a feel-good factor associated with it.  Coming three weeks after Durga Puja during which almost every Bengali worth his rosogolla, would have spent all of his money and energy, Diwali come like Round II of Fun. Back in those days, when I did not need to check the Outlook calendar to find out what I would do next, I remember crackers were bought the night before and distributed and exchanged. Each of the kids got a packet of his own which was closely guarded for the D-Day or rather should I say the D-Night.  The urge to bring on Diwali was immense and yet I remember I also had this feeling to hold it at bay for some more time for it was an occasion which got over no sooner did it come.
The evening would arrive and suddenly the mundane surroundings would glow up with the brightness of candles and oil lamps and electric lights and with night came the permission to start bursting the crackers. Crackers have a notorious characteristic. They never continue the length of time you would want it to. And before long you would find your stock depleting at a rate more than welcome. You hide the remaining ones and make sad faces when invariably the elders would force, much to the annoyance of, some poor cousin to share from his packet.  The look on the same cousin’s face when the hidden packet surfaced later was priceless. Those aluminum toy pistols added a relentless chatter to the brightly lit beautiful night. Chor-Police was a game much enjoyed and often the lines between the Chor and the Police would get blurred. As we grow up, innocence is something we barter for many other practical things in life and often one gets a feeling that the terms of trade aren’t really favorable but yet we go ahead.  Days like today when in a distant land, thoughts of those fun-filled days flash by, nostalgia generates a certain warmth deep inside.

It’s a beautiful, colourful and bright day today. I might be far away from home and people around may have no clue about Diwali but thoughts of loved ones and memories of yonder years helps generate and spread the positivism that is an integral part of today.
But I agree that there are certain days in a year when one must necessarily be in India. Diwali is most definitely one of those days.

Wishing all a very bright and prosperous Diwali.

P.S. - We must thank God for small mercies though .

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