Diwali is many things for many people. It is the victory of good over evil. It is the time when we meet and greet our near and dear ones. It is the time when we spread love, warmth and care amongst our family members. It is the time when we try to forgive and forget our loved ones. It is the time when our moms eagerly wait for us to come home so that she can feed us with food cooked by her own hands.
Whatever Diwali means for each of us, one thing is for sure that this is a festival which brings a lot of joy and hope for every individual. What begins with crackers and sweets moves onto the Lakshmi Puja wherein people pray for the prosperity of their families as well as their businesses.
But that is not all. In many parts of India, Diwali generally begins a month or so in advance when people whitewash their homes in preparation for the festivities. Diwali is 5 day festival which begins with Dhanteras wherein people buy precious metals and pray for the well being of their families. On the second day is Choti Diwali followed by Badi Diwali. On the fourth day is the Govardhan Puja while on the last day is Bhai Dooj wherein the sisters pray for the well being and safety of their brothers.
For me, Diwali is about meeting my cousins and extended family year after year. It is the time when all of us based in different parts of India and the world reunite for a couple of days of fun and enjoyment. Though I am not a fan of crackers, when cousins are around, we light some of the big ones. More importantly, the delicacies and sweets prepared by my aunts are the ones to be gorged on immediately lest my cousins finish them up. We also make it a point to light at least a couple of diyas and keep them at different points of the house.
Though I have always made it a point to be there during the Diwali celebrations, there have been times when I haven’t been able to make it. From non-availability of tickets to stressful schedules at work, the reasons have been diverse. At times like these, though my parents proclaim they are fine with me not coming, I understand that from the insides they become emotional and long for my return.
Moreover, I have realized over the years that Diwali outside home is nothing like the GharWaliDiwali whether in terms of the love, warmth or the festive spirit. When we are at home, we crib about our parents and family being really nagging about everything. It is only when you are away from what you truly love is that you understand the true value of what you are losing out on.