Diwali is one of the most popular Indian festivals and as a kid, I always used to wait for it. There were multiple reasons for the wait - crackers, sweets, new clothes, opportunity to meet all the cousins, have special food cooked by our grandmother. Amongst all, buying & bursting crackers was definitely the best activity during Diwali week. We used to play with crackers for weeks before and after Diwali, till the stock lasted.
When I joined boarding school in the town, we used to get one week off and these used to be most awaited vacations for most of the kids. For buying crackers, I used to save money and collect more from my parents, grandparents, and masis. And it was never a one-time event. For many years, I accompanied Nanaji to the market and bought crackers. At times, I had to resort to emotional blackmailing to buy riskier crackers :). We used to get so irritated when elders in the family used to roam around us to ensure that we use the crackers properly.
Diwali day used to be fun. We used to create huge Rangolis with rice flour with proper directions from our Grandmother. This used to be the traditional way of creating Rangolis in Himachal and now, these are being replaced with colorful Rangolis.
As we moved to colleges, most of my cousins including me started spending Diwali vacations with friends. This is the phase of life when you start adopting new lifestyle, which indirectly pushes you towards spending more time with friends instead of parents and family. During college, I spent 3 Diwali vacations with college friends and only one with parents at home. This was the time, when crackers took the back seat.
As I moved out for a job in a big Indian city, I started missing home during these festivals. Now it's impossible for me to imagine Diwali celebrations without parents around. Recent ad of Pepsico #GharWaliDiwali caught my attention and I thought of writing this blog post. There is no Diwali like a Diwali with Family. Planning Diwali vacations is one of the most challenging activity for most of the Indians, because they need to plan the travel 1-2 months in advance. Otherwise, there is no scope of getting train/bus tickets as it draws closer to Diwali. And flight tickets too become very expensive.
For those who cannot head home for some reason or the other, big corporates try to create a substitute. They also celebrate Diwali in big way. Lot of creative activities happen in offices to bring everyone into the mood of festivities. Rangoli creations, Mehndi contests, and lot of other activities happen one week before the Diwali day. The above photograph shows one of the Rangoli created with crystals in my office last year.
For the last few years, I have been noticing the pollution created by Diwali crackers and strongly discourage the use of crackers to celebrate Diwali festival. It's a festival of Lights not noise & air pollution. Photographs below would give you a sense of pollution that happens because of Diwali crackers. And if you live in cities like Delhi, you would know the impact on the very next day when the weather suddenly changes and things become hazy in the city. I request all my blog viewers to avoid crackers this Diwali and also encourage folks around you to do the same.
I am eagerly waiting to be at home on the 23rd and celebrate this Diwali with my Parents. #GharWaliDiwali - There is no Diwali like the Diwali with Family. Happy Diwali Everyone !!!
This post is a part of the Indiblogger prompt during Diwali'14