It is that time of the year again, DIWALI, the way we Indians celebrate life, good over evil, light and most importantly. HOPE.
Each has a different story to tell about this day, and more often than not the story starts with the legend – the and somehow ends in small childhood anecdotes, sweets, culinary delights, gifts, and fire crackers, everything a childhood dream is made of. Waiting for the whole year for one day like that to come is a worthwhile wait.
As I grew up, the world changed, like it changes for everybody. Childhood family friends of ma and baba drifted off, bought house somewhere else, transferred somewhere else, phone number changed, one of them died the other forgot to keep in touch – It was the time for our friends. Eventually, they drifted off as well. I made new friends, changed cities, countries, myself.
Now, unless someone lets me know, it is hard to recognize Diwali, unless someone gives me a heads -up. It is otherwise, just another evening. In India, Diwali is for long winter nights, the smell of burning autumn leaves, gunpowder, distant sound of a pandal, come evening loud crackers and finally falling asleep, still hearing over enthusiastic participants bursting crackers late in to the night.
Among all these years, out of a unfortunate habit, whenever this day comes, I scavenge through my memories, trying to overlap my mundane present with a happy past, some happy memory. Oddly, most lay forgotten in some corner of the brain. The one that is alive is a diwali, year 2008. The year I got married, and after fulfilling multitude of nonsense that marriage needs you to do, I had escaped into the backyard of Jadavpur University, searching for a trusted firework seller, in search of those large crackers that sprinkle like stardust on the night sky.
I had, in all my years had only seen crackers like those on TV, but this time I bought it, 2000 rupees gone in a moment. Nice. Oh another nice memory, of the same day, I had met Eman, my photography club friend, a very good one in the university. Just two of us, bought sparklers and lit all 20 of them together. Loved it.
So back. At night fall, I took the crackers upstairs, in the roof and my baba, being the child he is, lit up every one of them asking ‘do you want to light one?” I had smiled each time, refusing it. He lit them all up, all by himself, with just three of us, me baban and my dog bozo.
And since that time on, my happiest memory ever, is looking at him, my little baban staring up at the sky towards bursting lights, covering his mouth with is palms, eye slit with wonder, joy and happiness. My diwali wish come true.
That I wish to the rest of the world. It does not matter how rich/poor, privileged /unprivileged you are, may you have that ONE moment in your life, that will forever make you smile and blur your eyes with happy tears. Every Single Time.