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October 28, 2008

Indian arrested for street fire cracker display in Melbourne...

...or that WILL be the headline if I decide to get on the road, like India, like home, and throw some patak bombs and a couple of anars. Some would think I have terrorist links. If I were to decorate the outside of my house with candles and diyas, it would be deemed a fire hazard. Sigh. HAPPY DIWALI everyone!

Other than screaming HAPPY DIWALI in all-caps on this blog, there is no "feel" of Diwali. Dussehra too went by without a whimper, no lights, no new clothes and no Ravan burning. At least I can blame Hindustan Times for the new clothes; had they paid me on time -- and in full since I am still expecting payment from them -- I would have bought something new.

For the first time in years, my house will be dark on Diwali. Last year, November 7th was the date, Partner, my brother and myself had stood on the fourth floor terrace of my New Delhi home and enjoyed the crackers going off in the haze-filled Delhi horizons. Golu and Loona, my dogs, had run across the terrace in mad circles barking at the rockets that whooshed atop us and exploded in myriad coloured sparks... Year after year, newspaper and website headlines have screamed how Diwali is disastrous for Delhi pollution.

Maybe I am being selfish, but oh! How I would love to have the peace on my "street" (there are only streets, no colonies here) disturbed by kids setting off random loud break-your-window-pane bombs or the 1000-strong ladi. I have always--- HAD always -- loved looking at the bedecked houses, some with fairy lights, some with diyas and others with candles as they stood trying to twinkle amid the smoke and the smell of explosives. I LOVE that smell though have been known to be a big coward when it comes to igniting the fuse on the 'bombs'. I am the stuff-my-fingers-in-my-ears type of person and usually enjoy crackers -- bomb variety -- standing behind someone else. Or used to enjoy...

Diwali with my parents and brother meant cleaning up, dressing up in Indian finery, arranging the candles and diyas on a big plate and going around the house, decorating it with lights. That was Ma and my duty. The boys -- Dad and bro -- were in charge of the crackers and entertainment. Every Diwali, Dad would wait patiently to find the perfect bottle to hold the rocket stem so that it would rise really high...

As I grew, Diwali also became synonymous with betting and gambling. I know friends in Delhi who live for the Diwali time gambling. Interestingly, this period is also one of gambling in Australia-- or at least Victoria state -- though it's on horses. It's the derby season, November 4th being the Derby day. Like most festivals, most celebration is about drinking. Birthday? Let's drink. Anniversary? Let's drink. Christmas? Let's drink. Marriage? Let's drink. Boxing Day? Let's drink. Anzac Day? Let's drink. Hmmm...

So I reported to work at 7 am and I'm currently supposed to be working on a business proposal that has to be submitted coming Monday. It's part of the coursework. And am wearing a grey noodle-strapped top (called a 'singlet' here), jeans and there is no indication around me that today is one of the biggest festivals in India.

I miss Diwali. I miss India... I miss being with the menwhopause (last four Diwalis), I miss Ma-Pa and Bhai, I miss the rangoli that office would have, I miss the free Diwali office gift (even though most would bitch about it later), I miss schools signing no-fire-cracker campaigns, I miss old people tut-tutting at young people who delight in startling people with sudden bombs. I miss narkol nadu at Lokkhi pujo. I miss houses looking beautiful...

I really, really miss home. I am sorry I've not written for this long. For once, I am keeping all Diwali messages in my inbox.... and am craving my phone buzzing with greetings and wishes. It stays silent though. It's now an international number.

Oh Golu.

PS: To You who has been mailing and I have not replied; no, I am not heartless. I don't know what to write back. Yes, I am in good health and considerable good spirit. But something yearns.

to DJ: I had never realised how much those mid0-week cups of coffee meant to me. I miss you terribly too.

to menwhopause: thankyou for all the times when alone in Delhi, I celebrated festivals with you boys. From Holi, Diwali to Christmas...

15 comments:

Eve* aka JB said...

Dear M
so sorry for having been a complete shithead in writing back. i truly truly appreciate your words and more than that, the concern behind those words. i am good, in fact better than i would have hoped to be. however, perhaps discontent is inherent in my nature. sometimes, you think about the choices you make. sometimes you make the choices and you think. you are happy but you think. you think about the happiness and you wonder. why you wonder, is a wonder in itself. just this and that with uni and work thrown in has kept me away. some of the not writing also has to do with not wanting to. dont ask me why...

Kiran Sawhney said...

Jhoomur such a wonderful post. The best one on Diwali. I feel blessed to be in India after reading your post. Here we take things for granted. Now I can appreciate all this a lot. Wish you a Very Happy Diwali.
I would post some pictures of Diwali night tonight on my blog. Maybe it gives you some feel of Diwali in Delhi.

Surly Girl In The Corner said...

The bit where you say - it is called a "singlet" here - is so funny! I sometimes forget how different some Australian slang is to American slang and that people may not know it.

Beer is a religion, and Melbourne Cup Day tho everyone drinks to annihilate themselves. Happy betting. Go a box trifecta if you're feeling confident.

Surly

eve's lungs said...

JB - such a poignant post .Though you will not be lighting diyas and setting off anars , nevertheless, wishing you all the best for Kali Pujo and Diwali.Be happy .

Maxine said...

How nice to read you.
This Diwali is truly special.I'm feeling important and loved for the first time in my life.With a slice of pain somewhere,but dont want to think or 'ponder' into it much.Then its moms bday too.

The temple here had cracker show last night(with special permission).I was working.People came in for dinner after that and the 'spirit' of Diwali was felt by just looking at their beautiful dresses.Well,ive never celebrated Diwali,other than one time buying the diyas n lighting it myself,just for myself.

HT ko maro goli.You can now officially borrow from me okay.Anytime.But then why would you buy new clothes for yourself.It has to be gifted.hmm.Address pls?

Well,for the time being,sending you light.

Takecare and thank you :)

DewdropDream said...

It's been the same here for us in London. Quiet and depressing. More so for me because mom went to her maika and took dad with her to celebrate diwali while bua came home with her husband for the same. And am here on my own with only my fairy lights to remind me it's diwali. Hope you had some sweets to make you feel somewhat better. E-sending you motichur laddoos.

taurius1 said...

Happy Diwali!

Hope you had atleast half as much fun as I did today. ^_^

dee said...

Happy Diwali JBo... Well actually its over now but what the heck. It was good to read your thoughts after so long.. Hope you are doing well :) cheers!

P.S: One of my emails to you can also be found in that long list of unread msg's from back home.

Mystique said...

i sympathise....sigh, i've been in Oman all my life, i've never had crackers on diwali.
diyas, yea. lotsa them

Goofy Mumma said...

Happy Diwali JB. I know exactly what you mean in this post, was in Sydney last Diwali and the grave like silence there was deafening. Here atleast we have the regular noises and bright lights. Its really tough being out of the country at festival times.

Silvara said...

Happy Belated Diwali JB - I had to fly out on Diwali night and mine was spent with my mother trying to stuff rasgullas in my mouth as I sped away in a taxi.

It's not the same is it - I always wish I had the chance to experience a true indian diwali - not the pseudo one we have here in Melbourne (last year went to Fed Square where they had a huge show and was felt up by some drunk Punjabi's. Sigh)

Are you going to the races - maybe planning to go to Stokes Day. Interested? don't have a hat tho :P

And WOMAN - answer your messages!!

go-phish said...

its so odd how being away frpm home can make one miss simply EVERYTHING.. even stuff that used to annoy us.
human nature.
go figure.

ps- diwali was extremely toned down in delhi. hardly any crackers. mostly yummy food.

burf said...

hey j
why do i not see number of comments in 3 or 4 digits on your blog even after such a long time? i absolutely was expecting that. after you have such content and undoubtedly huge following

avijit bakshi said...

Happy Diwali!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jhoomur ! Discovered your blog by chance and glad to have found you.