Friday, November 6, 2015

काश वही दिवाली होती - Wishing for the old feel - Happy Diwali

Indian Bloggers

It seems like it was yesterday but it has actually been a decade. I see myself standing in the balcony of my house, all dressed up for the day's festivities. People are gathering in large numbers. They wait to witness the burning of the demon-king Ravana. They wish each other, greet each other, hug each other. Sweets are exchanged, and the wait finally ends with the effigy coming down with a loud burst of crackers. The festivity does not end here. The countdown to Diwali, one of the most important Indian festival has begun. Bazaars are decorated, houses well-lit. Everybody waits for the day Lord Ram returned from his fourteen-year long exile, to his home-city Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. It has always been like that - the celebrations year after year after year. And yet, everyone waits for the day with much anticipation and delight.


Image Source here


Lost in reverie, I laugh. And then, I realize I am so far away from it all. Ten years back, I had taken the first flight in my life. No, not anything symbolic. My first actual travel through air. I landed in New Jersey, the little India in US. My first impression was not of being in a strange land. There were so many Indians here, I had to strain hard to see a 'foreigner'. But things had changed.


The realization dawned upon me as I gradually lived through the days, and months, and years. Festivals came and went like any other day. People here try to keep up with their roots, their rituals. But it was different here. Things became more deliberate. One had to plan for everything. Plan for long weekends, plan for Holi, plan for Diwali. Diwali was such a defining festival, back in India. But here, in the society I lived, which comprised more than ninety percent Indians, I saw not more than ten percent homes lit. There was no evidence of any festivity. Diyas were replaced by candles. Fresh sweets were taken over by frozen desserts, or cakes and cookies. And Diwali went like any other day, except for the occasional greeting 'Happy Diwali'!


As I expanded my circle of friends, we started planning too. But this was necessary. To introduce our children to our roots - to tell them about rituals we observed, about traditions that defined us. I did not want them to see diyas as candles to be blown out on birthdays. They were not candles. They had no other translation. They were diyas. They symbolized Diwali. And they ought to know this. There were other things too. Like greeting relatives, exchanging sweets. Like the special foods - call them oily, or heavy, or unhealthy - they still were the spirit of the festival. Like crackers. So we went to a temple where they could light them up. No, I am not much of a fan of crackers. But I wanted my kids to get the feel of it. Well, the feel was absent there. In a small place -small by the standards of open celebrations that we have in India- many had gathered and cheerfully lit crackers, and screamed with joy. I did not find joy there. It was missing. It was, well, 'deliberate'.


So, for once, I wanted to go back and celebrate Diwali like we did a decade ago. No, I do not want to change it, for it has already changed so much for us. The old feel is long gone. I wish it was back.


काश वही दिवाली होती 

जो बचपन में मनती थी 
घर के बाहर लड़ियाँ होतीं 
अंदर दीए जगमग करते 
माथे पर टीका 
मौली हाथों पे -
चावल-मिश्री और पताशे 
से सज जाती पूजा की थाली 
आरती कर के चरणामृत 
पापा फिर हम सबको देते 
तारों के जैसे उज्जवल दीपक 
थाली में रौशन जगमग जलते 
एक दीपक इश्वर के चरणों में रख 
सारी रात जलाते 
मैं भाई संग घर के हर कमरे में जा कुछ दीप सजाती  
फुलझड़ियाँ फिर खुशियां बिखराती 
काश वही दिवाली होती 

Written for IndiSpire# 90


Happy Diwali to All!!!


36 comments:

  1. The poem is so heartwarming. Loved reading it.
    Wish you a very Happy Diwali, Sunaina :)

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    1. I am glad you liked it Purba....Thanks for stopping by...!!

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  2. Sweet posts! Can feel the pain, being away from the homeland!

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  3. If only there were returns! Life is a one way traffic, however, no return.

    Happy Diwali.

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    1. True, there are no returns....If only......! Happy Diwali to you too....!

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  4. Loved the poem Sunaina. Though the charm of the festivals fade away a bit with age I suppose, but your point about introducing children to our cultural traditions through the festivals is a very valid one. Wish you and your family a very happy Diwali. :)

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    1. Thanks Somali......It is not age I guess..... I have seen my grandparents brimming with enthusiasm on every festival. It is the spirit that is always young I guess. Yes, I do want the kids to know from where they have come. Happy Diwali to you too.

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  5. I can feel how you miss your home! Part and parcel of staying in US I guess.
    My relatives too have never been home on a Diwali! :(
    You people are missed too!
    Take care! And warm festival greetings to you and all your loved ones!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Indrani....! Happy Diwali to you too...!

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  6. Nostaligia interwoven through sublimity. Very nice.

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    1. Thanks Chaitali.....Happy Diwali dear....!

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    1. I wonder why you removed your comment Rajeshwari....It was so heartfelt and lit up my day thinking my words had moved you so much.....Happy Diwali dear...!

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  8. काश वही दीवाली होती...very nice sunaina...Happy Diwali

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    1. Thanks Amit...! Wish you a Happy Diwali too....!

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  9. Nice to read your poem.
    ~ Wishing you a very Happy Diwali ~

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  10. सच सुनैना जी, बचपन के दिवाली की बात ही कुछ और है। बढिया प्रस्तुती...

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    1. Thanks Jyoti ji......आपको भी दीपावली की बहुत बहुत शुभकामनाएं

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  13. Very Nostalgic!! You sparkled my memories!!! awesome poem!!!

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  14. .Very nice sunaina...Happy Diwali.

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    1. Thanks Jamshed.....Wish you a very Happy Diwali too...!

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  15. .Very nice sunaina...Happy Diwali.

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  16. very nice sunaina. loved this.Happy diwali.

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  17. Such a lovely post with an equally lovely poem. There' s a different touch that hindi brings in at times :) Happy diwali!

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    1. Thanks.....I love to write in Hindi and is often short of words....good words.....:)

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  18. Nice blog Sunatna, I have joined it, please join my blog if you like it

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    1. Thanks....I will check out your blog soon....:)

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  20. Thanks a lot of sunsins for joining my blog

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