Together on Diwali

Mum and I had first seen the Rangoli design on television. It was a Diwali special of one of those Ekta Kapoor shows still in its prime – the sort you don’t get embarrassed from admitting being a viewer of. Since neither of us had any experience whatsoever with powder colours we had seen women deftly working with, we made another plan. Armed with water-proof poster paint and mighty paintbrushes, we made the courtyard our canvas. In a few hours, the floor was vibrant with a lovely rangoli. More permanent than the rest of the rather alarmed family had accounted for maybe.

That evening from years ago, we placed the largest deep we had right at the centre of the rangoli. As the sky glimmered with fireworks and the winds grew resplendent with kaju-barfi, our rangoli shone peacefully into the winter night.

“How do I renovate it on my own?” Mum almost cried over the phone. “Don’t suggest ignoring it for I certainly will not.”

Mom and her pressure tactics. The dear was completely capable of err, renovating our rangoli with fresh poster paint, but wanted to leave no stone unturned to bring me home. This was when I was in Pune and they were selling flight tickets at the price of gold. I nibbled at a chocolate bar and switched on the fairy lights in my room, attempting to come to terms with the miserable quiet. I failed. The next day, Mum, Dad and I were away for a morning full of shopping at Lajpat Nagar – a yearly tradition – and stuffing our bags with lamps, cushion covers, dry fruits and umpteen festoons. As for the rangoli, we got her new clothes.

Last Diwali, we had quite a task keeping the cats away from our freshly painted masterpiece. I had tried to stop Mom from having a go with the paintbrush. “You really should rest, Mom. What about your backpain?” “What about it? It disappeared seeing you at the airport.” she said, generously dabbing a brush in green paint. We had later sat together for Lakshmi Pooja, and also ventured out to the Kali Pooja pandals in our essentially Bengali neighbourhood. Delhi shone like a new bride.

Mom put away the deep the next morning. “Next year, we will do up the rangoli afresh. I have thought of a terrific design.”

“Sure. I will get us some new colours too.”

“We will also book tickets well in advance. Or you will again go on about the monstrosities of price rise.” Mom mock sighed, throwing a cushion at me.

I didn’t need to book tickets this year. I am home and its Diwali next week. The city has started sparkling each evening and parcels of sweets and dry fruits are delivered every minute. Lajpat Nagar is probably jam-packed with shoppers. The lanes of yesteryears are brimming with memories of Diwali spent with Mom. I am sure that my enthusiastic best friend and fellow Rangoli artist is preparing her paint-box somewhere. We will stand at the balcony and nibble away at kaju-barfi. As lights come on across the city, we will consider with wonder the glorious world we have together. The world untouched by dust, time and pain.

*Written as a part of PepsiCo’s GharWaliDiwali

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16 thoughts on “Together on Diwali

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  3. I can actually sense the joy. Being close to your family on Diwali calls for true celebration, doesn’t it? I realised the worth of it only when I was away 🙂 Now that I am back, the happiness feels like it has been doubled.

  4. I am Nostalgic and I am away from home too. The celebrations here are not like the ones back home. For one year I stayed in Mumbai during Diwali and was so mesmerized by the way the city gets decorated with lots of lights! Ah! Miss those days.

    Happy Diwali Debo! I want some Kaju Katli as well 🙂

    • Hi Lavender, it’s so good to hear from you. 🙂 I have never been in Mumbai during Diwali. It sure sounds wonderful. 🙂
      I will send over some Kaju Katli to you right away! Have a lovely Diwali.

  5. Beautifully written, Debo! .
    I too miss Diwali celebration that we used to have at our home. It has been five odd years away from home. I used to build miniature house of mud, thermocols and used to color it and decorate it with lights. Those miniature homes used to be diwali gifts for my sisters from us(brothers).My Sisters are married and they have their sweet homes now 🙂 Every Diwali the reminiscence of those diwali days lights up my eyes.

    Very beautiful post, Debo!

    • Thanks a lot for the beautiful comment, R. I can imagine how beautiful Diwali must have been back home. Here’s wishing you loads of lovely times ahead. I am sure there will be little joys jumping the queue to light up your eyes. 🙂

  6. I so miss my Diwali in Pune since we out of India but good thing I am with Mom. We will have a Diwali, mom making mithai but nothing like India’s Diwali. One Diwali, was in Delhi and bought lotsa Diyas at Emporium near Shastri Bhavan. Loove that place:)

    • Oh, Pune! I remember buying lots of fairy lights and making patterns back home. The city would be decked up in finery; there would be festivity all over. I would mostly hop back to Delhi for Diwali but the run up to the day is a celebration of its own…
      Wishing you a very happy Diwali, Vishal. Nothing like #GharWalIDiwali eh? 😀

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