For the past few days, I have had this strange feeling of something missing in my life here at university. I wasn't quite able to put my finger on it. What could have been missing? I know that i have gotten used to hostel life... I don't think I am all that home sick anymore... Or am I?????
The answer pops up out of nowhere. I realise that i am missing home. Its festive season, and i am miles away from my family. I realise that what was missing was the yearly routine that was always carried out at home, this time of the year.
What i love about Diwali is not the celebrations on that day. I enjoy the preparations for the festival better. Because that is the time when i get to spend a lot of time with my parents. It is quite a rare event when the three of us sit down to do something together. Diwali brings such an occasion along... and that is what i wait for each year.
It starts atleast a month before Diwali. On a Sunday, me, mom and dad go out to a shopping mall to get our new diwali clothes. And no prizes to guess what each one of us gets year after year!!! For me, its always jeans and T-shirt, for mom, always some Salwar material, and for dad, its always some nice shirts and pants. It was always the same old shop and the same old brands. I guess it had become a kind of a tradition!! I never got bored of it. Now i am missing that part....
The next best part was always the weekend before diwali. If i remember right, i think it was always a Sunday afternoon when the three of us would enter the kitchen and start preparing sweets and other goodies for the festival. I never really did much. I might have done some small odd jobs. But my Mom and Dad would divide the work among themselves and finish off all the preparations by the same evening or night. I don't know why i loved this part of all the preparations. The more i think about it, the more i am inclined to believe that it may have been because that was one of the few times when the three of us would sit together and talk about almost everything under the sun and crack some really hilarious jokes on how my dad's or mom's "experiments" with a new dishes turn out! Both of them are the best cooks in the world! Watching them make tasty stuff in the kitchen is a real pleasure....
Then finally, the big day arrives! We get up really early, take a quick bath, wear our new clothes (somehow it feels more exciting to wear new clothes on a festival than any other occasion!!) and burst some crackers to wake the neighbours up!!! Then when the sun rises, we get back into the house and have a tasty breakfast (usually something special!). After that its the same routine, go to the temple, come back and probably watch some TV, have a filling lunch, take rest in the afternoon (all the preparations can be tiring you know!!!).
Then when night sets in, I light lamps all over the house. You should see our house when all the lamps are lit and arranged neatly over the window sills and balconies of the house!! It is one of the most beautiful sights ever. More crackers, a light dinner and probably a nice movie would end the day.
It doesn't sound very spectacular... i know.. I have heard more spectacular stories on how diwali is celebrated in many of my friends' homes. But to me, this plain and simple diwali is the event that i wait for year after year. Last year, i never realised that it would be my very last diwali at home for at least another decade.... sounds like a long time :(
But then again, i guess life is about changes. Nothing is meant to last forever. Our Diwali celebrations was no exception. I have to learn to adapt to these changes and i will!
All I can say is that even though diwali is going to be different this year, it may not be all that bad, thanks to a new family that i have found here in university, a family of friends :)
But even then.... i will be waiting for the next time that me, my mom and my dad sit together in the kitchen... and crack those hilarious jokes and laugh.. not just because the joke was so funny... but because of the happiness that we feel, the happiness of being surrounded by those who truly love you...