Once upon a time, I enjoyed Diwali to the fullest – bursting firecrackers, eating sweets, having a blast with my sister and visiting friends. Times have changed, so have I. People have moved away from each other and there are not many invitations passing around for Diwali celebrations for me to pick up from. Even if I did have a chance to celebrate Diwali with friends, I would be conscious of eating sweets due to my weight gain and I would not be able to enjoy the firecrackers thinking of pollution and the child labors who manufacture them under harsh conditions.
Rayyan gave up bursting crackers completely few years ago considering the pollution and noise. I have kept away from crackers since Farheena doesn't like the sound and every Diwali is tormenting time for her. With lot of assurance, support and a good headphone she is pulling through the festival bravely now, though she gets a bit grumpy at times.
I am not sure whether I love the way I am aware of issues now or I would love to go back and be the carefree girl I was who did not bother about pollution or weight gain and enjoyed Diwali a lot. My dad worked as an officer in charge of purchasing raw materials for Joy Ice Creams Factory in Whitefield. He did a lot of business with Marwaris and shared a good relationship with them. They made him a part of their Diwali celebrations; hence we got to taste variety of sweets and firecrackers for free every year. As they came from different people, every package was unique and it was a great joy opening them. At times we would squeal with joy when we found some rare sweet or a firecracker we really loved in the package.
As dad got his Diwali bonus, we would get new dresses for Diwali as well. My sister and I usually bought same type of clothes in different colors. She loved Red and I loved blue. Since most of our friends were Hindus and would wear new dress for Diwali, we enjoyed showing off our dresses to them as well. We would buy matching bangles, deck our hairs with flowers and visit friends. Usually it was my sister who wanted to visit friends and she did not give me a choice whether I could accompany her or not. She was not comfortable going alone, so it was a compulsory that I follow her. That is what sisters are for, she would say.
As for my mom, she did not like the noise or the fire at all. We had to force her out of home to watch the phooljadi or flower pots at times. Even a small sound would make her jump, so finally we decided to let her be in her own world far away from the crackers. But dad was different. He enjoyed bursting the loud crackers like Lakshmi Pataki or Bombs. I always joined him, since none of my siblings were interested in these noisy crackers.
Somewhere down the lane of life, Diwali lost its sweetness and brightness for me. I am not sure when and where the change happened. All I remember is sharing those amazing times with my family --- because today my Dad, Mom and Sister have become my memories and memories have become a treasure. As I hear the crackers bursting outside my home, I get lost in the happy world that existed once upon a time…………..