Another Diwali has come and gone. Yet again I notice the giant, conspicuous constellation, Orion, and wonder if it's been keeping an eye on me since I first noticed it, when I was a mop-haired, half-pant wearing skinny kid in my village-like township in Chhattisgarh.
It's been 10 years since I last bought crackers. Parents' assertions that it's a waste of money and media campaigns that said shun crackers as children are employed in the industry worked. Yet another festival spent alone, wishing it were quite the opposite.
I missed being in Balco, where a festival meant all neighbourhood aunties would assemble in one house and make chakli, gujiya, nariyal ki barfi and what not. I was the one who used to get the task of grating the coconut. The incentive was that I'd get to drink coconut water and then eat a lion's share of the finished product. Smell of the delicacies used to waft in the houses when chakli was being deep fried or when sweets were being prepared. And when the hardwork was done, smartwork used to begin, of hide 'n' seek. Mummy used to hide the assortment and I used to seek. Needless to say who used to win.
I'm 23 now, staying alone in a room on the third floor of a residential apartment in the Silicon Valley of India. Alone, not lonely. But yeah, as I take the stairs to or from my room, I cannot escape the smell of these south Indian delicacies being prepared in these homes. And that brings back the memories.
The days of yore
I don't think of them 'cuz I miss them. When we were children and the biggest problem in the life used to be a friend who was angry because we had stolen and finished his lunch. The biggest fear used to be geting caught and thrashed by our sports teacher when we used to bunk class and play cricket all day in the school. The biggest injustice life could serve was rain during our games period. The wierdest behaviour was when a friend used to get mighty upset just because you (deliberately) spilled blue ink on the middle of his steel chair on the day of white uniform. Those were the days when you used to get four gupchups for Re 1. Anyone with Rs 2 in his pocket used to be the king for the day.
And look at life now. Not that I'm complaining but yeah, those days were something... Actually, I have no complaints. As of late, life is peaceful. I'm carrying no baggage that usually wears out somebody my age. I'm still friends with all the buggers with whom I grew up, laughed, cried, kneeled outside the classroom for not completing homework, fell in love, failed in pre-boards.
My gold jewellery
And while my Diwali was devoid of chaklis, fuljhadis, new clothes, gifts and everything synonymous with the festival, I am really not complaining. People buy gold jewellery a day before Diwali. You know what's my gold jewellery like? I've got a heart of gold, a gift from God. A heart of gold... Forgives quickly, loves truly (the bugger loves a lot).
Yeah, the side effect of wearing it on my sleeve is that it often gets bruised. While it is not welcome everywhere, it's alrite. I don't give everyone—this has become one of my fav expressions—either. Ah, this achy-breaky heart! Impurities are going; slowly, steadily, and, at times, painfully. But that's alrite, it's worth it. It's worth it.
“Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth making” — Ronan Keating in I Hope You Dance