Ah, it was the best of times back home, when Diwali was all about illumination, it was the season of lights. It clearly was the crack of dawn. Every corner of my house would be lit up with extravagant candles, diyas and lights. Being the Lakshmi of the house, I would be responsible in brightening our home with diyas. Puja would involve me sitting impatiently and pretending to pray, when all that’d be on my mind would be the fancy crackers. My carton of crackers would wait for my chirpiness and I’d burst them all at one go. I’d look at my mother, dressed in a traditional sari (as elegant as possible) and I’d get jealous on the inside and make attempts to look as pretty as her! Anyone who’d perfect the art of Rangolis, we’d steal ideas from and envy them. The family drama after the crackers’ show used to be the most entertaining of all. Games of cards and an overdose of calories would keep us going all through the night.
My heart still aches when I think about home and the lit up apartment, but, it also smirks when I do things on my own. The sound of crackers seem soothing now, just like the sound of an aeroplane, for it implies departure to home.
I’m in my new home now, it does seem like home, away from home, only when I forget the spider webs that have appeared in my balcony or when I switch the light on and sleep, because I’m too scared of ghosts. The meaning of Diwali has changed for me now. A year ago, the idea of Diwali in a city where I was struggling to get adjusted was blatantly dispirited. It’s been a year and the meaning of this festival has changed.
It’s imperfect when I see the messed up room around me – yet, I enjoy the aesthetic mess. It’s sheer joy when I think of getting fairy lights and decorate my room – around that Coldplay’s poster. We would visit relative’s places to distribute and hog on sweets in bulk. Now, we’re just a group of friends, searching for a low-priced sweets’ shop to fulfill our cravings. We plan on learning poker and playing it, and the money that we put on stake? 2 rupees each. With every Sky Lantern that I lit at a house party with friends, I realized how fast those bunch of maniacs turned into family. Earlier, It would be about 4 days of continuous dress-up and pictures. Now, it’s about 4 days of pyjamas, books and movies.
We don’t have too many resources to feel like family, but, over time, I do accept that home is where the heart is.
This one’s for all the outstation students who aren’t home this Diwali. Staying on your own may be full of difficulties, but it’s the excitement in overcoming every hard time that matters. It’s the love that you share with a roommate in sharing Diwali sweets that matters. It’s the solo trips to India Gate just to sleep on its grass that matters. It’s the fun in roaming around the city to adore the lights and positivity, that matters!
Celebrating a festival without being in my hometown is definitely not perfect, but it’s beautiful!
Dear Diary, it’s Diwali and I’m away from home. But, that’s okay! 🙂