Something wasn’t feeling right. Whenever I write, I feel the letters dance up the screen like graceful ballet dancers, dancing to the thoughts in mind. But last night it was different. I
couldn’t feel any symphony. What I saw instead was graceless men with two left feet. Something was wrong. I couldn’t fathom. So I gave it up and went to sleep. The riddle was solved when I woke up shivering like I was on the North Pole. For once I even had a nightmare that I was locked inside the ‘walk-in with the sub zero temperature’ inside my store. I was ill.
It is ironic that as long as I was abroad, I was always home for Diwali but this year although I was in India, I had to make cancellations and rush to Manipal. I had planned for a month long hiatus that included a visit to my favourite Doon and Haridwar and here I was returning back in a week.
I wasn’t the least fazed. I could at least spend Diwali with my staff. They were my family too. The day before my Manager and I had planned the gift packets and the pooja. The staff had worked hard for the outdoor in MIT and were demanding the party that I had promised. We were deciding on the day too. Suddenly here I was in bed with no energy to do anything. I was sluggish but the mind wasn’t. Our Manager took all the burden on himself and left me no work.
And so this devil’s workshop was working overtime.
I went down memory lane and thought of all the fun and frolic as a child. Diwali meant getting up and having a shower before sunrise. Mother used to make a special paste. No soap was used. Before that we were given a massage with Jasmine oil. There were no geysers then. Water used to be heated in large copper vessels. Everything in those days was natural. No artificial perfumes. The house used to smell good with the divine incense sticks. We used to then settle down for breakfast, sweets and savouries cooked lovingly by mom. No one even dreamt of buying any sweets from the sweet mart. That was unheard of. Mom used to be busy cooking for almost a week before. Large containers were filled with mouth watering delicacies. With our new clothes we felt like we owned the world. Eating finished, we then used to start bursting crackers. That went till late night when mom feigned anger and dad just sniggered. He was always our accomplice never our dad. Till he died, he retained that playfulness.
I do not remember when we suddenly grew up. Our innocence vanished like camphor. No one really cared about getting up early or using that sandal wood paste. The kids now wrinkled their noses at eating the traditional breakfast. Breakfast meant sending someone to the Indian Coffee House for hot idlis or hot toast and butter. The size of the containers for storing sweets reduced. No one ate them much. New clothes is no longer restricted to festivals. Kids go and buy them on their whims.
I was thinking that the kids are missing out on so much fun.
But learning never stops. Even a nine year old kid can be your teacher. My friend’s precocious son taught me that enjoyment has no boundaries or rules. You cannot define fun by your own definition. One year he was with us. We had a lot of fun. He giggled, screamed and danced happily much to our delight. I couldn’t see much difference in him and me as a nine year old. The time has changed and the ways have changed. But the fun is still there. He didn’t see why should he shower at 4 in the morning or why should he gorge sweets at the crack of dawn. He enjoyed the sweets but on his time. As we sat down for breakfast, I agreed with him that there is no better breakfast than hot idli and occasional dosas. Now he is trying to convert me to Magi for snacks. He agreed that there is no better sweet than Gujiyas. So there was no dichotomy. Thank you kid for teaching me that important lesson.
Dear readers, Diwali is the festival of lights. Pray Goddess Laxmi that she bring prosperity and happiness and brighten your life, making each day of your life a colourful festival. I do not know the parameters of your happiness. But have fun your way. It doesn’t matter if it conforms to the society.
Just Do it.
Here in the solitude of my bedroom I am going to open the treasure chest of my memories. There were many loved ones who had brought sunshine in my life but were no longer with me. I want to relive those precious moments, Look up at those stars and say a big thank you with a big smile.
This Diwali, I am celebrating with my eyes closed. Trust me a thousand lights are shining inside.