Sepia Tones: Diwali & Shillong

It's that fascinating time of the year where everything seems to be painted in the colors of euphoria and cheer. Festival time!

This time of the year has always been my favorite, you know? Durga Puja followed by Diwali, what can I say, always brought along a sense of belonging and warmth that I cannot quite describe in black and white.

It's not really the traditions though that make these festivals special in my mind. The memories, yes those that we make on these days, year after year, every year, those are what I cherish. These make up for those yarns and anecdotes that become topics of heart warming conversation many many years down the line. Not the things we ought to wear, make or do on such festivals as ordained by society!

Today curled up with a book, the last weekend before Diwali, I can't help but reminisce about those countless Diwali evenings I spent with my family in Shillong. The lights and decorations in our cottage nestled in between hills. The countless candles we lit around the garden turned the atmosphere into something magical. I have Goose Bumps just thinking about those days. Nostalgia does that to you, you know? Makes you want to find a worm hole and go back in time, relive those beautiful moments again. In this case, those wonderful Diwali evenings.

The more time passes by, the more I find myself yearning for those days. The soul searches for familiar scents that bring back those festive times in my memory lane, fresh and vivid. Sometimes, when this kind of longing hits, life seem devoid of the mystical touch and being a grown up hits me like a chilly dash of air in icy winters.

Well, never-mind. I guess memories always have a mischievous way of latching on to the positives and magnifying them manifolds.

So as I was saying Diwali in Shillong was extraordinary. It would fall just before our final exams with our small hill station already in the grip of winter. It was our welcome respite from studying. Of-course it also helped us get over the anguish of having bid farewell to Durga Ma for the year. Diwali was like a surprise gift that we all knew about but would still wait for eagerly every year. Sounds ridiculous to you perhaps but we just couldn't shake of that feeling of excitement thinking about it. Leaving the warmth of our homes, leaving the heaters and sweaters we would dress up and run outdoors to celebrate. Yes, CELEBRATE in the real sense.

Great food, Kali Puja, visiting pandals with family and bursting crackers with dad, sis and my childhood gang, I think that's what I miss about Diwali these days. I remember my sister and I would wait for dad to wake up from his afternoon siesta and together the three of us would light candles all around our garden. It would get dark very soon there and we would wait with baited breath just to see the town dressed up in lights. I wish I could describe to you how beautiful it looked. On the balcony overlooking the valley the candles battled cold winds but strangely kept burning. Divine intervention perhaps, surreal. We could see the lights on homes spread far and wide in the hills as if the stars had descended just for the night. Right out of a children's fairy tale you know?

We along with the other kids in the compound would gather to burst crackers. It was fun sharing and spending an evening together while the parents kept watch. And now I cannot even think of such an evening because the connect seems to have been lost in this race of life. I don't even know who my neighbors are!

I think the sentiments associated with childhood also adds to the allure of those memories. Today my parents are in Guwahati, my sister and I have office on Diwali instead of having a holiday. Leaves are scanty and all I'm looking forward to do this year is perhaps curl up with a book, burst a few crackers and cook! In fact somewhere I seem to have lost the enthusiasm for it. Maybe that's how life looks on the other side of childhood or maybe I'm just lazy.

I know for a fact that there will never be any Diwali like the ones I spent in Shillong. Those were about joy, about being happy with the family. Of-course, not having any responsibility apart from perhaps studying for the imminent exams, made it sufficiently easier. Those were celebrated exactly how festivals should be, with fervor and purity. Yes, I miss those days. I miss how I celebrated Diwali or any other festival for that matter when I was just a little girl.

But hey don't get all morose after reading this. I will celebrate Diwali this year for the first time in my own home with my husband. I wish some of his eagerness rubs off on me too. Yes, he brings in the excitement to all festivals now.

So, as I was saying this year for the first time in my own home. Sorry our own home. (The husband will be reading this you know!)

Sounds incredible really. Our own home! Big words Ms. Dhar eh? I know!

Hopefully the magic of those wonderful years will pay a visit this year! Wish me luck so that I make some beautiful memories as I celebrate Diwali with my husband, decorating and cleaning our home, attending office, yet celebrating it with fervor!

Well with that I wish you all a very, very Happy Diwali! Have fun, enjoy and stay safe!


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