We slipped from October into November rather seamlessly. The way I realise that another month has begun is when my Mum tells me over the weekend that we need to go buy monthly provisions. That and when my shampoo bottle has depleted. I rarely look at the date on my phone. It’s just a habit I have slipped into. In college, I would realise when I had to pay rent.
It’s Diwali, the ‘festival of lights’, it’s always been an interesting festival. When I was a child it was all about the fireworks, the loud bursting of bombs, flower pots whose sparkles would shoot into the sky. Rockets always inspired trepidation and the sparklers, the most harmless and cowardly fireworks. Now I don’t enjoy fireworks, because of the air and noise pollution. When I see dogs running at the sound of a firework I feel terrible about it.
I like the lights, the lamps we light and the sweets. But the fireworks are an unnecessary addition to the celebration. It’s understandable that kids enjoy it. But I am glad that the government has passed a few rules now regarding fireworks. Maybe some kids might miss out but in the long run, it’ll be better for the environment.
I put up the lights on the house yesterday, with my Dad and this is the first time I’ve done it on my own because my sister the artistic and creative one would always be the one who’d put them up. I used to be her assistant. This time I put whatever little vision I had into putting them up. I am not very good at this stuff. Personally, I could have done a much better job.
Every house looks decked up in lights and in the night you can hear the fireworks bursting before you go to bed. It’s interesting. The festivals seem to be coming one after another with no break in between. For me, it’s always been about the food, that’s the part I enjoy.
The lights are nice, they make your house look inviting. It’s when your house gets to dress up. You try to do your best with what you have. You must be innovative to use extension chords and deciding which light will be plugged in where. It’s not so much about the look as it is about the reach. It’s a rather impartial way of deciding the pattern.
It’s very easy to go wrong with lights. Elegant can become gaudy just like that. My sister being resourceful knew how to avoid it. My agenda involves getting every string of lights up. I hate to see a string not being used. My sister usually had a theme in mind and would see patterns where I saw none.
Yesterday I just wanted to get it done because I was being bitten by mosquitos, so I ended up putting a string of lights that weren’t even visible later on, what a waste of electricity? Today will be interesting, with an equal measure of work and fun. I love how this week started off and I hope the high continues.
For the last five years, I celebrated this festival without my family and instead celebrated it with friends. I would go to my landlord’s to wish them with friends or we’d just stay in and hide from the smoke and complete assignments that were due soon after the festival. My parents would send me pictures of the lights and what they did during the festival. I missed it. But I never felt much emotion about it.
We grow up without realising it, now when I look back it’s been five long years, which feel like a second. I didn’t even notice it. My parents always asked if I could make it home for the festival and I never went because it seemed unnecessary. I found it so easy to stay away. But now I realise why they’d call me home. When you’re away for so long it becomes a habit to miss out and feel like it’s ok to do so.
I am just appreciating the small gifts, the snacks, the togetherness just that kind of thing. Diwali marks the return of Rama after his period of exile. It reminds me of the lyrics of Coldplay’s song, ‘Fix You’, “Lights will guide you home…” and that’s what it really is. This year for me has been a journey to find light and escape from the darkness and perhaps this festival symbolises that in a sense. I know it sounds sentimental and dramatic but it means something to me. There is something undeniably nice about this feeling.