Before I had moved away from home, Diwali had always been that festival of new clothes, too many sweets diyas guests and crackers. Much of a nuisance really. I used to think – much ado about nothing; make a face, sulk and go all pseudo intellectual on people trying to explain to me the importance of this festival.
Of course I knew story – the return of the mythological lord Rama after fourteen years of exile (a win over the evil Ravana in one of the most elaborately detailed battles of Indian origin) was celebrated by the Ayodhaya vasis by lighting diyas. But then that is just what it was – a story.
I soon turned 18 and studies took me far far away from home. I was still happy and gay and usually busy with my own things. My parents would call me home for Diwali every year and I would go back home thinking I was fulfilling some societal ritual – the cleaning of the house, the lighting of diyas, sweets, lights, merriment and crackers.
Till that one year when I had to spent it all by myself. I was all alone in my hostel. My friends had all gone back home. I thought I would spend the evening in the market nearby – a busy place bustling with people all days of the week with its numerous coffee shops and eating places. So I put on some nice clothes and head to this market to have a nice cup of coffee but lo and behold – the entire market is deserted. Not a soul in sight. No where. Not any where.
Sitting in that empty parlor, all lonely and cold , that chilly October night, over my warm cup of coffee I reflected over the very new and strange feelings filling my being. I have never been much emotional, melodramatic or overtly filmy. But I did realize a few things that night –
1. Festivals are just disguises in this modern crazy world where work and education pull apart blood relations, to bring back the most important people in your life. All money, success and achievement aside it is family that matters in the end. You can be very intelligent and you can understand everything but that can not fill your being with the warmth that the care of a loved one does.
2. Parents are the most benevolent creations of this society and god. Their love is the most selfless and the most selfish( they will not care for the neighbors kid like they do for their own). They shape you, sometimes they mess you up ( according to the popular Western school of thought) but mostly they make you who you are – all of it – free will, choice, independent thought – that’s all romantic rubbish.
3. India as a country so diverse in its myriad multitudes stays put and together because of the many many festivals it has. As it is we have only so many things to cheer about, so few resources and the booming population, festivals this become reasons to celebrate – happiness uniting the billion of us.
Diwali, in all its light and brightness was very enlightening that year. On a wise impulse, i booked my flight tickets for the night and in four hours I was lighting diyas in my own verandah.
This clip below tells the story of Diwali better than most. By 5:00 your eyes will well up. Post 7:00 you will call your parents.
This blog post is my entry on the topic “Diwali – a time for Family!” conducted by Indiblogger in association with PepsiIndia who have come with their recent brilliant advertisement(above). More can be read about them – here
All the images used in this post have been taken from the very generous free-sharing-open-source-kind-of-market that we have on the world wide web. For my take on this kind of sharing, if you are interested please read – this.
Image credits and links –
Image 1 – from maavaishnavi.com
Image 2 – from he.net
Image 3 – from indiancaravans.com
Image 4 – from festivals.indianetzone.com