I wake up on Diwali morning and realize that I don't have kandeels, lanterns, flowers, or diyas to decorate the home. There wasn't any time to get any because I was living the joyous life of working the graveyard shift.
But I'm up at six a.m. anyway, since I spent the previous night talking to a cousin. The morning is cool with the faint stirrings of Mumbai winter...winter that is not really a color so much as a hue. Slightly foggy, slightly misty, slightly grey...but a perfect background to bright orange lanterns and sparkly white and blue lights lit up all along Pali Hill. I run up the zig zag road, wanting to fill the lungs with sharp, fresh air. I walk down Carter Road, watching groups of happy construction workers have tea and biscuits next to a pile of bright Diwali decorations. They'll probably take them to deocarate their homes. I feel a little sad, a little left out.
But a stall, bright and magical in appearance calls out. Marigold garlands beckon. Fuschia, turquoise, red, gold, and silver lanterns beckon. I hoard up on them quickly. The lady selling them gives me the sweetest smile. On the walk back home, I stop at a grocer's. Get a little carried away at seeing brown basmati rice and palm oil and diyas with Roohafza pink wax. Buy them by the kilos and dozens and end up with packages weighing a hundred kilos.
It's still early and it's Diwali. Wonder if I'll get an auto to take me home. I do. Rickshaw fellow, very sweetly, turns the auto aound and helps me with the baggages.
I reach home and immediately start decorating my home. My sweet, charming, Bandra home. It feels like dressing up a baby...I do it lovingly, joyously, carefully. Then I put out the diyas, try to work out a pattern in the small little patch that the door opens out to. And kneeling down, I first light up one diya. One tiny tip of wick. And thereafer the glow...it's amazing how such a small little flicker seems to eat up so much of the darkness...how this little flame can pour out so much warmth, that it feels like it can drive away dankness from the largest voids.
It's beautiful. It's strong. And it's so much like that intense calibre of 'survivorship' every single soul has. Like the realization that a sun only gets eclipsed...not wiped out.
Rise and shine, people.
Happy, HAPPY diwali!