Today, the homecoming aspect was very much on top of my mind as I went shopping for diyas with my daughter. It was a bit late to be doing this but she had been away for some days on a school trip so I kept putting it off till she got back. Diyas are little clay lamps that are filled with oil and are lit at night all during the Diwali week. They are as symbolic of Diwali, the festival of lights, as the Christmas tree is symbolic of Christmas in western countries. In the days before apartment-living, they were placed all around the home so that at night when they are all lit up, the effect is truly magical!
In these modern times, electric lights intrude upon the cosy glow of the diya but can't quit dim the magic.
I broke away from tradition this year as I didn't want to have a lit diya toppling over into the apartment below us . The Fire Brigade in Mumbai is overworked as it is without my adding to their problems! So, this year, I substituted the flame in the diya with fiery-bright yellow and orange marigolds. I've placed these little marigold diyas all around my tiny balcony in my apartment and on a few ledges in the rooms.
A pity you cant see them at night but they're really flamboyant during the day. Maybe some day they'll have fluorescent marigolds!
Outside, however, all the trees along the roads are strung up with tiny little lights . Isnt it amazing how a few little lights can change the entire night landscape? 'Magical' is the word that keeps coming back to my mind every time.
At night, every little shop by the roadside is filled with all kinds of lanterns of every material and design, hoping to entice even the most disinterested shopper to forget the R word for the moment and splurge on a gorgeous bit of light and all the hope that it signifies.
Gorging on sweets, visiting friends, decorating homes .... now what have I left out? Fireworks!But, of course! Diwali without fireworks is unthinkable for just about everyone I know.
Sparklers and rockets are old-fashioned now. Instead, each year there seems to be some new fireworks with fancy names. It was the Telephone (a cracker which zips up and down a wire) a few years ago and then there was the Butterfly( a cute little thing which actually flutters up off the ground before coming back to rest again in a flash of lights) ... I wonder what's new this year? I hope its not anything noisy!
And so my friends, have a wonderful Diwali ! Enjoy yourselves, keep safe, think positive, dream big, and in the spirit of Diwali, get in touch with an old friend whom you haven't spoken to for a long time.