For the majority of my previous Diwali celebrations, I have always been at my home. Getting in the morning with a list of things to do from my mom — “Diye dhoondh lena”, “Mithai thali main rakh lo”, “Nariyal kahan hai?”, “pooja ki thali saja do”, “Bandarwal laga do gate pe”, “lights laga do”, “diwali ke din to naha lo :P” and so on, to calling all my friends and family to wish Diwali and lots of happiness, to going around meeting all my childhood friends and reliving all the memories, to wearing Kurta and traditional dress, to doing pooja, singing songs & prayers to finally treating ourselves with delicious food — poori, pakori, kheer, mithai, etc, the Diwali week was always full of activities, fun, and immense happiness. As I could not travel back home due to the pandemic, I sit back and ponder, will the day of Diwali this year be like any other normal day?
Let me take a step back and think about what Diwali means to me ( on the internet, one can find various reasons why we all celebrate Diwali, but this one is my own take ). With our hectic life and busy schedule, we always need a reason to do anything — a calendar invite for talking to peers, a time when you are free for a call, a special occasion to travel and meet others, and the list goes on. For me, Diwali is that reason to connect with everyone, to share happiness with families, friends, and neighbours. It’s a reason, to bring back that child in you and forget the hatred and spread happiness around, it’s a reason to enjoy our life, be happy and live together. It’s the sweet memories about how we spend a great time with parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, friends, and a special bond that connects us all.
As I look outside and think about how I miss those Diwali feels, I realize the ‘feels’ is not outside, it’s within us! I could choose to blame the pandemic and not do anything, or can put little effort to bring back those Diwali feels and spread it around. I am a strong believer in how little things can turn everything around. A small birthday song can make a day for someone, a cute little greeting card can bring smiles to one’s face, a few minutes of phone call can bring happiness to that friend, a small, positive, and motivational speech can uplift the morale of the team in a difficult time and a small thank you ping can create that special bond. And this Diwali, I choose to put that little effort and recreate the Diwali feels, not only for me but for others as well. Because happiness is something, that spreads by sharing!
With some effort from me and my wife, Neha, and great help from our cook , Rajesh bhaiya, we have prepared the traditional besan barfi ( I spent hours talking to my mom to get this thing right :) ), gulab jamun, besan pare, matri and pohe ka chivda. We got small gift boxes, assembled them together and gifted these sweets and savouries, with a cute greeting card to my family here ( neighbours, society guards, relatives ). Thanks to technology, I got to connect with my family and participate in the pooja, had video call with friends and relatives. The festive feels is back!
As I look back, I realize, how we are not bounded by the situation we are in, but by how we choose to react to it. The life is full of ups and down, we can choose to be sad or take charge and be happy and thankful to everything around us. I choose the latter, and hope you do the same. A very Happy and Prosperous Diwali!