For many people Diwali has become just another holiday meant to be spent on the beach or an exotic location or even just quietly at home, enjoying a much needed break from the hectic lives we lead these days. Celebrations of the past remain in the past collecting dust like our clothes that lie in our cupboards waiting to be worn.
My favourite Diwali memory is actually getting ready for the big celebration – scouring markets for lanterns to hang at the door.
Shopping for clay lamps, soaking them in water, rolling out the wicks and keeping them ready to light on Diwali day.
Cleaning out the cupboards,
washing down the walls, scrubbing dirty floors,
getting all the dust off from shelves of artefacts,
polishing the brass, touching up the paint,
and shopping for fabric to make new Diwali clothes.
Designing new patterns and going to the tailor
Shopping for new shoes to go with the dress.
Buying baskets of crackers and drying them in the sun
A few days before the celebration begins.
Planning all the menus
Choosing the best ingredients,
The cashews and the peanuts
The strands of saffron and cardamom pods.
Rolling out the laddoos all laden with sweet goodness
Deep frying fresh karanji
And the aroma of fresh ghee
Filling up the air.
Finally getting up before dawn
Shivering in the cold air
Waiting for an oil bath with scented herbs and cream.
Then greeting the new dawn with joyous fire crackers
And sparklers that twinkle in the early morning sky.
Diwali is upon us and whatever your memory
I hope it is happy and full of good cheer.