There is a lot left to do, and nobody is willing to help me! The dialogue was common from my mom while cleaning the home for Deepavali. Across the country, Deepavali might begin from Dhanteras, but at my place, it begins right from the day my mom decides to clean every corner of the home. Like every other festival, Deepavali means celebrating happiness. While all the family members get along, eat sweets, and have fun, the row of lights on the compound complement the environment.
The Deepavali that I celebrated as a kid seems so different from how I celebrate it now. Being the youngest at home, I had a lot of reasons to be happy. On the occasion of Deepavali, I would get new clothes from three of my brothers (3 new sets of dresses!), and wearing those clothes doing my ramp walk in the entire home made me feel like a queen. Sitting along with my aunt waiting to sprinkle the Rangoli powder at the end, over the beautiful rangoli that she drew, and then claiming that I too helped would give immense joy. Writing Happy Deepavali on the doors was a self-assigned task of mine and the feeling of pride looking at the diyas I drew on the door is unparalleled (Even when they did not look like diyas). It cracks me up when I recollect, how I would beg someone to carry me, to cross the front yard of the home when it was all swept with cow dung.
Jalapooja followed by Thaila Abhyanjana (the only part of the festival I wanted to escape) with Dosa, and some traditional sweet dishes would make the first two days of Deepavali. Since our family owned a Grocery shop, Lakshmi Pooja was a little special to us. Visiting neighbors on the day of Gou pooja and seeing the ritual made that day joyful. These experiences are memories now. They do not recur the way they were.
From carrying a surprise package in the back to couriering those gifts the celebration has taken a different course. From clicking photos standing beside each other to clicking the screenshot of the video calls, it's been 9 years of Deepavali away from family!
Right from my childhood, I had an extreme fascination for lights. Be it street lights, glowing LEDs, lights put for decoration, anything. The row of lights that are lit everywhere during Deepavali creates a sense of magic in every nook and corner.