I read somewhere that Diwali was also celebrated amongst other things, to mark the return of the Hindu God, Ram from his 14 year long exile in the forest and the entire kingdom was lit up with oil lamps to welcome him home. I am sure he must’ve been one happy gentleman to have returned home to all those succulent boondi laddoos, hand crafted gulab jamuns, crispy murukkus and a loving brother (umm, not necessarily in that order). I can imagine it’d have been a welcome change from the vegan fare at the woodlands. Anyway, the point being; when I landed at the Bangalore airport on Friday night, with its own little version of perennial ‘welcome home’ guiding lights on the tarmac, I had a warm, fuzzy feeling about being home in November much like what I suspect the returning King may have had all those centuries ago.
For the last seven years, I have been following the murukku trail and turning up at home in Bangalore, in time for Diwali. The festival of lights (and sound) has come a long way from my formative years when it loosely translated to new clothes, firecrackers and murukku to a more transcendental experience now - homecoming. It is a different matter that quite unlike my counterparts in UK and US who seem like the poster-children for Axis bank’s NRI Homecoming ads, I do trudge down to Bangalore every other month. But like my friend Arjun emphatically says, “One can’t NOT be home for Diwali!” I’m sure my roomie Shif would agree. She’s been striking off dates in her mental ‘Days-to-Diwali’ calendar with more zeal than Tom Hanks did in Cast Away! And going by all the Facebook updates which have varying forms of ‘Nadaan Parindey Ghar Aaja’ as status messages; I’m left with no doubt that most of the (social networking) world agrees with Arjun.
But, there is something to be said about turning up at work on the day before Diwali in traditional wear, well-accessorized with blingy bangles and an equally appropriate suitcase that completes the pre-Diwali look. Between demolishing the traditional sweets that so generously do the rounds and applauding people on their enthusiasm as reflected by their ensembles, one hardly notices the hours slip by and before you’re ready to jot down that To-Do list for the day, viola… it’s time to print out the ticket and scram to the airport. The airport itself seems to have transformed into a homing ground for the American Tourister toting corporate slaves sporting anarkali suits, Fabindia kurtas and beatific ‘I’m-going-home-for-Diwali’ grins.
When I reach home, the folks welcome me with open arms and tins of murukkus. Boy, they do know what a girl wants! That right there, Ladies and Gentlemen, is my happy place! The usual trappings of Diwali do make their way into our home every year – new clothes, firecrackers, murrukus, rava laddoos, the Diwali special super-hit movie on Sun TV, the endless phone calls from family and friends and the good-humoured-bad-grammared-zealously-illustrated wishes on SMS and Whatsapp (Yes, yes I know there is no such word as ‘grammared’ but hey, where’s that festive spirit?). But all of these are what add to the warmth and bonhomie of the festival and that’s when you realize that the warm fuzzy feeling in your heart is not from sitting too close to the Diyas : )
Happy Diwali peoplezzz!