Diwali – Down the memory lane

At this age I love going down my memory lane to recover some that can reflect the past.

I don’t remember if we celebrated the day in big way in our remote village. However, I clearly remember my great grandmother, a religious and child widow lighting earthen lamps that she made herself near the well, Shiva Chavutra, and the Tulsi plant in the courtyard.

I don’t have any memory from my school days at Birlapur. But I am sure we must be getting good special food on the day, as my grand father was very fond of good food that also on such occasion. Perhaps I had gone more mature by that time, and had started taking all the luxury of fireworks that as a child I would have loved as waste.

It was only the Diwali of IIT, Kharagpur that I vividly remember. The lighting competition between the halls of residences with oil lamps on the terraces and the fireworks in the ground between Azad, Nehru, and Patel Halls used to be the main attraction. But then it got discontinued. I don’t remember why.

During 37 years at Hind Motors, I don’t remember when but I started worshipping the Goddess of Wealth on Diwali (that is continuing till today) and lighting some candles. When the trio came and grew, we started buying some amount of fireworks too. But I remain scared with them. However, the main feature at Hind Motors used to be the club-organized fireworks in the island of the big tank in the colony where almost the whole lot of residents collected around the tank to enjoy. And that followed with usual exchange of greetings as a practice. For next few days, we used to visit known families to wish them prosperity.

After we shifted to Noida, we drifted further from the festivities of the day. We do hardly go out on this day. It is lighting and puja in the evening, and that’s all. Noida is rich, perhaps with per capita income one of the highest in Indian satellite towns. People are very religious too. Yesterday we went out to visit the homoeopath doctor of Yamuna. In three attempts since the morning, we could catch him only at 8 PM. But that made me see what is Noida like on Diwali night. For the first time I enjoyed the lighting of the residents all over and all types. Huge crowd in the extra sweet and gifts shops set up in all the markets scared me to go in, but I had to get in one to buy some, even though the prices were very high and we had seen report of fake chemical khoya on TV scaring us. And on the way back, we found vendors of flowers and even earthen lamps of all types making a very good business. This is perhaps the trickling down effect of prosperous economy and a way to judge the prosperity of the shining India.

I have two sources to know something about how we celebrated the Diwali- diaries of my grandfather and my own. I have a plan to look into it. But I wish my sons wrote me what they remember.

Happy Diwali!

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