The festival of sweets and shiny new clothes had always been my favourite as a child. I would create a huge calendar in January itself putting a huge ‘X’ on every day that would go by and bring me closer to Diwali. I would throw tantrums to make my mom and dad buy me the shiniest of outfits available in the bazaar and drag them to the mithai ki dukan to buy singhar ki barfi weeks in advance.
On Diwali, I would bathe twice a day and apply powder on every part of my body so that I would be ‘Khushboo’ in the true sense of the word. I would gulp down puri and kheer every hour and then chase my younger brothers down. You see, I was the elder, and at that point of time, the tallest sister they had. They would listen to my careful instructions and bring me flower bracelets to adorn my wrists. I was a princess during Diwali.
But then, I grew older and slowly started losing my fascination with the festival. I became environmentally conscious and I hated my family for bursting crackers. I thought the Laxmi puja was long and tedious and the snacks and mithai my mom made, were too oily and greasy. I had become a sullen teenager you see, a diet conscious rebel a very important environmental cause.
I would make fun of the Diwali programs that they showed on television, give long lectures to anybody who burst crackers and basically tried to make everybody miserable.
As the years went by, Diwali was a festival that I started dreading. I had to go and meet countless relatives, have a smile intact on my face and give answers to the same questions asked by different people.
But last year something changed. My mom decided to take things in her hand. I was to return from the hostel just on the day of Diwali and I was trying to come up with every excuse possible to avoid coming home. But eventually I did land up at my house.
My mom and dad hugged me tightly and after bathing I went for the puja. I don’t know why but things seemed different to me. Instead of the pundit, my mom sat with a book in her hand and read out the mantras. Then, she went on to explain the meaning of every word she had uttered. As she explained the significance of every part of the ritual, she kept shooting glances at me to see a big smile on my face. For the first time in years I enjoyed the puja.
Next, she gave us sugar free healthy sweets as prasad and had made a selecting of healthy snacks that she learnt in a workshop for the weight conscious me.
When it came to bursting crackers, she informed me that the money that was to be spent on crackers was donated to my favourite NGO and they had only brought phuljadi this year. As we lit our phooljadis and ate some of the unhealthy sweets, I couldn’t help but tear up a little at the effort she had put to ensure that Diwali would become, once again, one of the most important festival of my life. This was my #GharWaliDiwali
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