It’s Diwali and I am close to a 7700 km away from home, wondering what will I even do this year and my brain is ready with an answer, assignments!
So I make a wise decision and start writing this article about “Ghar Wali Diwali".
Diwali at home, or rather, every festival back home has a charm of its own, people from all over and every community have some amazing ideas of their own that they would gladly share with you and help you with absolutely anything and everything!
Diwali at home generally meant a lot of things that didn’t always make sense but were the best ideas ever. It did, always feel like the entire city celebrated the festival together, regardless of the race, gender and even the place where they came from
So why not indulge in some nostalgia and read on for the virtual and verbal experience of the Nagpuri Diwali?
Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye?
Image source: Mera Events
The aroma of sweets wafting out of every house and sweet store. Think, Dharampeth, Mahal and Burdi, all the sweetshops get so much business done in the months of October/November owing to Diwali and the ongoing festive season.
Each and every shop around with its own delicacy and the free samples they offered! Haldirams and the gift boxes. After every Diwali, I’m sure each one of us regrets stuffing our faces with all the assorted sweets from Haldirams.
Not only that, Diwali is also the time when mom and aaji bring out the big guns and let us get every sort of mithai from these, sometimes even if it is ridiculously unreasonable.
Aaji Ke Haath Ka Faraal!
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Speaking of aaji, Diwali is truly her time to shine and dole out loads and loads of chiwda and chaklis, shankarpalas and matthris, sev and anarsas! And then the moment when she calls you to, “check and see if it’s done right?”, I’m not kidding when I say that I live for those moments when I have her permission to stuff myself senseless with everything that has been made that day! (I’m salivating at the mere memory of it!)
Mission Saaf Safai!
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This also brought on an onslaught of a mad cleaning spree, where every abandoned item would find its way into the garbage pile, if not picked up within 7 seconds of someone spotting it! New brooms are pulled out, new mops go swish, the floor is scrubbed clean to the point of being able to eat off of it.
All the fans gleam like they are in some Mughal court and the cobwebs seem to vanish in thin air! There is no sign of dust and dare a speck of dirt come anywhere, warriors are on the ready to wipe it off of the face of earth! Diwali cleaning, is and will never be taken as a joke, anywhere. Ever.
The brightly lit houses and streets
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Ever since I was a child, I have looked forward to Diwali because of the tiny winky rice lights and the diyas that we put up all around the house. That used to be my favourite job. But not just my house, houses and buildings and schools all around the city have a charm and shine of their own during Diwali. Each house lit with diyas and the happy faces of children as they run around in wild abundance will forever be a favourite Diwali memory for me.
Making Akash Kandil
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Since we’re talking of lights, remember how your mum used to send you to those lantern making classes every year, in hopes that one day, you too will make a beautiful lantern? Yeah? Me too! Every single year till I put my foot down and point blank refused to go, I have been forced to go to Baljagat and attempt to make a lantern! And every year, all I made was a papery, mushy mess!
But that resulted in either mum making lovely lanterns or a trip to Dharampeth to buy one. And every year, without fail, we’ve had a new lantern at home. Winking, glowing and reminding us how much we love the festival. Once the lantern and the rice lights were bought, there always was constant, “please hang the lights today” debacle at home! It started some ten days before Diwali and ended nine days before! Aaji and mom always win! (Always)
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And then came Diwali, from day one, with all the early morning ubtan and sandalwood baths to the evenings when you dressed up to the nines and had poojas done and guests come over bearing gifts and those compartmentalised boxes of dry fruits, remember those?
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Relatives, the gifts and the lights, while important and fun don’t hold as much value to me as does our family tradition of just sitting around in the evenings and talking, about my embarrassing childhood memories or reliving some of our best times and going through old photographs.