दीपावली दीपों का त्यौहार हैं। दीपावली बुराई पर अच्छाई की जीत का सन्देश देती हैं। This (essay of 6 to 10 sentences during the school days) was my only connection with Diwali till I ended up in North India post marriage. As such, the memories of Diwali brightens up my life the same way the diyas would be lighting up the homes of people in the north.
Diwali brings to me the memories of the wonderful times I spent in Lucknow, the land of the Nawabs. Known for its Tehzeeb, or good culture and manners, Lucknow was an alien land when I first landed there. Soon, the city charmed its way into my hearts. I met many people there, learned new lessons in culture and living, celebrated many a wonderful moments of my life. Diwali was also special because in the later years, we used it as an excuse to visit relations in Delhi and celebrate the festival together.
During Diwali, we lighted the diyas at our home, burst few crackers, ate stomach-full of mithaais, supplied and received basket-full of sweets and dry fruits and celebrated with one and all. It had much more fun than what I wrote in my school essays.
At office, we got Diwali bonuses and special gifts from the HO. We also took the opportunity to get a special Diwali treat from our Manager. The days were full of celebration, fun and festivity.
In fact, the celebrations start even before Diwali. The whole city seems to come to the market on the day of Dhantheras - which is celebrated two days before Diwali. It is considered auspicious to buy something valuable on this day. So, the shopkeepers - especially the jewelers and the automobile showrooms, have a great time on this day. While the affluent class shops for Gold and diamond or cars, the poor ones settle for lesser metals like steel and bronze. But buying something new for Dhanteras is a must.
O! How I miss the festive mood of Lucknow - wish I could visit the Bhootnath Market again, buy some beautiful diyas as well as idols of Ganesh Lakshmi... Or just walk through the busy roads among the masses, enjoy the aroma of mouth watering tikkis, gol gappas and other such delicacies. Though allergic to the smoke and dust, I had watched the colourful display of crackers and fireworks during diwali... As the night refused to die, one went to bed exhausted and tried getting used to the sound of the odd crackers breaking the silence of the night...
The next morning would be invariably foggy - not the aftermath of fireworks, but the visible sign of winter setting in. Out comes the sweaters in various forms and colours - half, self-knit, factory made and what not!!! Ladies sitting in the sun and knitting sweaters for the near and dear ones was the most common scene in those times. Another favourite activity was eating the groundnuts after struggling to crack open them.
An important day for all, Diwali holds a great charm. Perhaps that is why I am missing it today. Sitting at my own little corner in God's Own Country, Diwali reminds me of my second home, Lucknow, and all the good things associated with it. And like a diya spreading light to dispel the darkness, the mere thought of this festival spreads in me a unique warmth and love...
Let me wish Happy Diwali to one and all!!! Hope the diyas will dispel the darkness from your lives as well. And may be we can say no to crackers as well :-) Have Fun and Stay safe!!! Miss you Lucknow and Delhi!