Celebrating emotion of Diwali and it's changing appeal.

Happy Diwali, people,

The time of the year where we wait with bated breath to wear new clothes, buy earthen and colorful lamps, indulge in mithai khaoin, the cute candles and of course the sweet delicacies prepared at home. The festival of light poses as the moment to re-kindle the celebration of oneness and togetherness with family and friends, sending images and GIF to the dear ones with whom we share a close bond. Diwali brings a certain emotional closeness despite the distance and one occasion for us to reflect on the storms weathered and standing the test of times despite we are scattered in various places on the globe.

The moment to fulfill our responsibilities, cementing bonds and looking at moments elapsing as we enter a brand new season and ringing in cheers for the upcoming new year. Diwali has always been my favorite festival giving the rare treat to gorge on the sweetmeats and I am already missing the unique delicacies in India, the friends with whom we would hang out together in Pune or revelling in every moment worth spending that has been forever captured by emotions of the heart. Such moments stay forever.

There are various memories associated with the celebration and things keep changing as Diwali gets a global makeover. Rightfully so, life doesn’t stay static and one should not shy away from exploring new things since what matters is the sparkle in the heart where the mohallas or surroundings become vibrant with colors and lights.  As a kid, I remember watching Mom whipping the mound since the wee morning hour and intrigued at her hand steering the flour to perfection with her hands. She would stay awake with Dad past midnight till the Gulab Jamun and ladoo would take final shape.  I was often woken up in the night by the voice of my parents in the kitchen and would hear Dad who stayed by the side of Mom, helping her with the preparation. The man would fill the sweets inside a jar once the sweet took the round shapes. 

Of course, the festival of light became a real feast for days where I would sneak into the kitchen, far away from the glares of the parents to steal bundle of sweets, hiding them inside both pockets and waiting for the next opportunity to pop them inside the mouth.  Old habits are hard to chuck out. Just now, Mom was telling me how on every Diwali, Dad would diligently sit on a chair early in the day and carefully cutting the cotton thread into proper size and length, diligently arranging them inside the oiled earthen lamps, which are spread out on a huge thali ready to be lit.

The essence of the festival may have changed over time to become more global with the various whatsapp images sent to friends. True, it has made things easier.  To think that there was a time when the various mobile service providers offered packages ranging between 60 to 99 paisa per sms or calls in India to wish our friends Happy Diwali. What days it was! I would jump on the various schemes and change the phone numbers to land on the best offer for Diwali.

Scribbling messages and sending greetings to each person on our phone book list was quite a task but there was a simplicity within. I sorely miss the various killer taglines that bore the ingeniosity of marketers splashed all over the place be it TV or newspapers. Remember this one, Diwali Bumper Offer that clicked instantly.  It is sorely missing in today’s times of social media such as FB or Twitter.

The best Diwali was spent in Pune as a student and the place is so endearing that it becomes your home in no time. For sure, I have made Pune my home and long to being back there to start everything all over and no temptation on earth that can make me forget my city.  From the firecrackers to the favorite Gulab Jamun, shikhand, pherni and visit to the house of friends decked in colorful Kurta Pyjama, we would relish the true spirit of Diwali and mithai that made the moments priceless. I remember this friend of ours Pradip who couldn’t visit on Diwali that fell on a Sunday but he came one Monday bringing a huge dabba of Cadbury chocolate. He brought his guitar along and we all sang Goanese songs. Diwali is an ongoing love affair in India and I sorely miss the endearing celebration.

This time, I bought a variety of sweets, Ladoo, apple barfi and the famous Haldiram’s Soan papdi along with colorful candles imported from India. On her part, Mom got the Karanji's delicacy from the market.  I will arrange the mithai in colorful bags in a short while to be distributed to neighbors and friends after lighting the lamps at 6 p.m. Did I tell you that I bought a sticker Rangoli yesterday for 60 bucks and already pasted it in front of the door? I shopped for a nice pair of shirt and polo tee yesterday which is made my Diwali special.

As I look back, the whole spirit of the festival may have changed with more people now buying sweets from the market while in the distant past, every bit of sweet was religiously prepared at home. Mom almost finished making two varieties of sweets but no matter how things change, the emotions remain the same. I am sorely missing my college friends like anything and they are the souls with whom I spent the best times of togetherness during Diwali. The emotions are vivid and it feels like yesterday only. 

I have a silent wish and small prayer will do to make the forces conspire with each other so that the next Diwali is spent in India, settling back for nothing beats the emotion of celebrating in one’s own country and no matter where we are, this home feeling cannot be beaten by any force.

Make the most of the time for we become the light, respecting choices of each other be it tradition or food culture that makes us stand tall as Indians. We must strive to remove prejudices be it caste, class, religion, gender and share the happiness with the unfortunate children and socially deprived in an effort to brighten their lives.

Happy Diwali

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