If I had to pick a time of year that I miss being in India the most, it would most certainly be during this festival of lights called Diwali. Mostly because festivals are always so much better celebrated with family and friends. But in this particular case, that’s not all I miss.
I miss walking out on my street and watching rows of diyas (oil lamps) adorn the thresholds of all houses; I miss the community celebrations and the fireworks (no, the 4th of July does not invoke the same feeling in me); I miss eating homemade sweets that I did not have to make. 😛 But most of all, I just miss Diwali as I remember it from my childhood – a normal Diwali (as I have come to think of it).
Especially because, ever since we moved to US, Diwali has just never been the same. It’s actually a relatively quiet affair here. More often than not (especially when Diwali day falls on a weekday) the actual day of the festival is business as usual, because it’s not a holiday here, and it’s pretty difficult to get time from the daily grind to do anything special.
So then we end up visiting the Hindu temple on the weekend, and organizing a small get-together of sorts with friends (fellow Indians), and sharing desi sweets as well as nostalgic memories of a normal Diwali from our past.
And this has pretty much been the pattern for almost 7 years now. We have watched Diwalis come and go, with 2 predominant thoughts in our minds..
It’s just not the same here, we miss the Diwali of our childhood, and..
How we wish we were home…
But the thing is – we are home. And we have finally realized it. This is our home; the life we chose. For our son who is born here – this is his country, his life, his normal. And I feel like now it is up to us, how we shape that normal, and our failure to do so will have far reaching consequences.
For one, D will grow up with no fond memories of Diwali, and would instead only remember his parents pining for their version of a normal Diwali (whatever that is, he will never know). And what a travesty that would be!
So, we’ve decided enough is enough. We will always have beautiful memories of our childhood Diwali with us, and now it’s time to create something equally beautiful for our son. A different, yet a very normal, very happy Diwali tradition.
Which is why, this year on, we have decided to take off from work on Diwali day, and spend it with family, making homemade sweets and snacks, lighting oil lamps and string of electronic lights as well, and attempting to create a semi decent rangoli on our threshold (semi decent because my craft skills are non-existent).
Small steps, I know, but this is (hopefully) only the beginning of a tradition that we hope to create for our family in our little corner of the world, to keep a slice of India alive in America.
Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali. May the divine light of Diwali shine in your life all through the year and fill your life with happiness and prosperity.
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