I still wonder where the time has gone. Circa 1990s…6 pm back from school and I had all the time in the world to do my stupid pranks with my building friends… we were a bunch of pranksters who would bully the bozo losers. Diwali would actually start for us 10 days in advance… with buying new clothes, to bursting small revolver band crackers, to making mud forts (killa in Marathi) Diwali was much more than simply sweets and relatives!!!
I still remember it was so much fun to actually go about each house and collect funds in order to buy warriors and Shivaji statue from the market for our beloved fort. And more fun it was to actually protect our fort from getting damaged by pranksters of our neighbouring buildings…
A day prior to Diwali we would have a small get together to decide what time we would be heading for fire crackers next morning… and the whole night would go in anticipation of what fun we were gonna have the next morning!!!
First Diwali morning would be one of its kinds…getting out of bed at 5 am was never so easy than on this day (because I could hardly sleep on the previous night). Making my bro to get out of bed was the toughest part though. We had a small ritual in our family in which I had to give tel-maalish (oil-champi) and utna scrub (a fragrant powder scrub) to my brother on the first day of Diwali (I don’t know the mythical story behind this …but most of maharashtrians and south Indians have this ritual) and thereafter he will have his bath and then later I used to get same oil champi and scrub thing done to me by my mother (U see… I was a cranky person wanting to do everything that my brother did…lolz…). Now the big issue was till the time my brother doesn’t get his things done I cannot have my bath and get ready and go down to play with my friends…so almost every year on first diwali morning I used to fight with my bro to make him to move around doing his chores quickly.
Bursting crackers is the most awesome memory that I attach with my old Diwali days… we used to have a big municipal corporation tank right opposite our building and that would mean that several of the municipal water pipes (the big black ones –one in which we can easily crawl and go…) were lying unused just outside that tank and in front of our building. These pipes were part of our ammunitions. Have u ever tried bursting a sutli bomb in such a pipe?? (You aren’t that lucky … I Know… giving you the devilish smile…) But it used to sound like an alien attack on the Earth (take it from me… been there done that…)… the whole area would shiver like anything…!!! And yes separating each single cracker ladi (single stick of cracker from cracker necklace-TajMahal cracker…) was the most important task since that would ensure that we could burst the limited stock of crackers for a looonnng time..!!!!
Thereafter the barood-laden hands were straight directed to the washbasin by mom once back home for the Diwali Breakfast (in Marathi we call it Faral…). Chakli, Besan Laddoo, Chivda, shankarpali, Karanji, sev …wow… no other breakfast in any world cuisine can beat that… and with this the end of breakfast would mark the second round of fun with friends…The Mandir(temple) time!!! We used to head for Ganesh temple that my town had…one could easily see the whole of the town youngsters bustling in and around that area…many new contacts would take place … many new hearts would start beating and many new stories would begin at this time of Diwali in and around the temple area… For us children… it was all sheer amusement..!!!
With all the appointments dutifully followed in the morning, noon time was time for heavy lunch after which Goddess Sleep would descend on my eyes… Laxmi-poojan would follow with lots of prestigious fire cracker bursting…. the 10,000 necklace and similar kinds of big fire crackers…were regulars in the evening!!! Such was the golden period when I used to look forward to the first day of Diwali…
Circa 2010, there are children all around and 21 days vacation too … but no forts in sight instead we have children hooked on their video games and cyber world…. I have oil and utna at home but bro isn’t in the country…Miss you bro… Friends are scattered all over the country and abroad too …with facebook and gtalk the source of bonding between each one of us…temple area is no longer frequented by youngsters what with most of them preferring cyber dating sources today!! Getting up at 5 am is pain today… what with most of the office work carries on way past midnight everyday… Chakli, Besan Laddoo, Chivda, shankarpali, Karanji, sev everything is still there but calorie conscious self isn’t ready anymore to bask in their goodness…Laxmi-pooja is still there… but guess we are more running behind earning wealth than earning Laxmi these days… When Goddess laxmi showers her blessings, one should feel the utter peace and serenity in one’s life … but that picture is far from true… All we are concerned about is putting away cash for our new home, new car, new holiday home… but amidst all of this the question which bothers me is where has the time gone? Why aren’t we putting time into our lives?
And I am not blaming anyone with this but just doing a self retrospection…as to where my time has gone?
My mom keeps asking-“Diwali is approaching… I need to clean house, maid isn’t that helping… you will chip in na…” and pat comes my reply… “Mom I have deliverable this weekend… I am still not done with UAT (i e. QA in software lingo)…I am not coming home before 10 today…” Once back home, I have bills to pay … mails to reply too…SMSes to reply to, studying for GMAT… looking after MBA application requirements… thinking about the next day in office … doing the monitoring work for the systems that run during the night…and I don’t know how it strikes 1 in the night…I see around and everything is so quiet… everyone has slept… night has fallen to sleep with a hope to see a better first Diwali morning…& I feel the guilt in me… that I am not putting away time for my own life.. For my people…but rather all I am doing is putting away money and more money and doing everything possible in order to stack away more money…
There was a time when we used to personally meet friends and say “Happy Diwali” and now we just prefer to set our Facebook status to wish everyone… All because we don’t have time to call up or meet every dear friend of ours..!!! I feel guilty I feel helpless because I don’t have time…
Because I am running for money…I am running for good life… I am running for better designation … I am running for more stability in life… when all I am aiming for is right in front of me… with steady cash flow… good loving family… spacious home to stay…and an already stable life I can say that yes I am leading a good life, but the satisfaction has disappeared… the peace is gone!! All I am getting is wealth not Laxmi’s blessings…anymore.
First day of Diwali:-
Mom: “C’mon have your breakfast… it’s already 10 am now…what are you doing?”
Me: “Wait a minute mom… I am running…”
(pics for representational purpose only… )