Diwali celebrations have changed over the years and I am enjoying it more with my family now

Diwali Celebrations 2013 at Rohini, Delhi - Celebrations, Festival of Lights, Lights, Lamps, Crackers, Sound, Music, Sweets

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. 

Diwali Celebrations 2013 at Rohini, Delhi - Celebrations, Festival of Lights, Lights, Lamps, Crackers, Sound, Music, Sweets

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 Rangoli,Art at Adobe, Rangoli is a traditional decorative folk art of India. These are decorative designs made on floors of living rooms and courtyards during Hindu festivals and are meant as sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities. The ancient symbols have been passed on through the ages, from each generation to the one that followed, thus keeping both the art form and the tradition alive. Rangoli and similar practices are followed in different Indian states; in Tamil Nadu, one has Kolam, Madanae in Rajasthan, Chowkpurna in Northern India, Alpana in Bengal, Aripana in Bihar, and so on. The purpose of Rangoli is decoration and it is thought to bring good luck. Teams make rangolis every year before Diwali at Adobe. However, this time the patterns were incredibly intricate and imaginative.Om is the sacred symbol of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and can often be seen in religious arts. Rangoli is no exception.The traditional rending of a new bride in a Doli. In medieval and ancient India and for a long time even in modern India, after marriage, dolis bourne on the shoulders of 4-6 men were used to transport the new bride to her husband's home. Marigold flowers (गेन्दा) are inseparable from Hindu Prayers and religios decorations. Idols of Deities are often adorned with garlands of marigold flowers and red roses.This is a clever integration of a peacock in the face of Lord Ganesh. While the peacock is the greatly revered in Hindu Scriptures, Lord Ganesh is the deity who the Hindus rely upon to take care of new entreprises. Beautiful colors and image! The peacock is also the National Bird of India.A pattern with the peacock in the center and outlined with marigold and rose petals.A Peacock is often referred to as a bird with a hundred eyes owing to the eye-like patterns in its tail feathers. The Kalash (a brass pot) is a symbol of abundance in Hinduism. It is often worshipped during the yagyas along with the deities in Arya Samaj branch of Hinduism. Full rendering of a peacock on the branch of a flowering plant with symbols of various Adobe Products in its tail. It is holding a scroll with the symbol of Adobe and the Sacred Swastik in its beak. Swastik, contrary to common knowledge, is an ancient holy symbol in Hinduism. Unfortunately, it was used by Nazis and after that the real, holy meaning seems to have been lost to the world. But in India, it is still used with a lot of respect in almost all religious ceremonies.  Lord Ganesh with his elephant head and human body. Lord Ganesh is widely worshipped along with Goddess Lakshmi (the Godess of Wealth) during diwali. Lord Ganesh, himself, is considered to be the God of New Beginnings, someone who removes hurdles. Another colorful design with the logos of various Adobe products, You can see the well know photoshop, Premiere Pro, Dreamweaver, Acrobat, InDesign etc.Diya's (earthen lamps) are used during diwali to decorate houses and businesses. They are shallow vessels made of clay or brass and have a cotton wick dipped in mustar oil.This design is more traditional with Om and a stark white color against a bright red. Two peacocks with their royal blue necks and bright green plumage. Peacocks seemed to rule the designs this year. A new age Ganesh with his vehicle, a mouse. If you look closely, the mouse if offering him an Apple that looks strikingly similar to the logo of the Software Giant of the same name. While the word Adobe has been written in a calligraphic script at the top. Cheeky!A close-up of the Kalash. This one is earthern but has been paited over with a metallic paint. Around it are typical colors of Hinduism, saffron and yellow. A close-up of the calligraphic Adobe.  Baby Ganesh, floating on a cloud, over a colorful carpet of Adobe Products. Whether this cloud is a spiritual cloud or the technical cloud, is open to interpretations. Another colorful and elaborate design with Ganesh and Swastik, The shape of a mango is another common shape in Indian arts. You'll find it used in abundance in mehndis (henna tattoos) and rangolis.Photoshop, flash, Dreamweaver, Bridge and other Adobe products around an Adobe symbol. A fancy earthen Diya full of blue rangoli color.Lord Ganesh, in his various forms, has inspired many artists. And as a result, his form has been used extensively in all kinds of arts, starting from Rangoli to paintings to sculpting. Simple, yet pretty.Adobe employees admiring one of the rangolis. Elephant, another symbol of Hinduism. This one's a tusker and is carrying Adobe on its back. Elephants are closely related to Lord Ganesh. The Rangolis are as colorful as Adobe itself. This particular Rangoli is of a dancing Lord Ganesh.Happy Diwali,  Rangoli, Art,  hinduism, Ganesh, Om, Religion, Art, Colorful

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.  

Diwali Preparations at my Home.Diwali celebrations started two months back at my place. My nephew and my sister, with ample support from my jeeju, nephew's nana, nani, and dada, dadi, started a project of painting diyas. The plan was to put these diyas on sale around diwali on a small table outside there place. The stall would be managed by my nephew. It was an attempt to instil an attitude towards business in him. No one in my family has ever been in business so we thought that it would be a nice exercise for him. Here are some of the Diyas they painted. It wasn't easy though. Even on the last day, it looked as if the plan will fail because of some regulations regarding setting up stalls in their housing society. But when the president of the society visited and saw that the set-up was tiny and being manned by a child, he agreed to let us hold the stall. We were all delighted because my nephew was really excited and the thought that after all the preparations, he will not be able to set up the stall was very disappointing. But we were thrilled when the president agreed. And thus started our stall. The stall was set for two days. And he managed to make some sales. He was happy when people kept coming but during the dull hours, we had to keep motivating him. Whenever someone came and bought the diyas, our hearts exploded with happiness and my nephew's face glowed with pride as he put the money in his basket. He acted like a true businessman, politely but firmly refusing any requests for discounts. At the end of the two days, he had sold several diyas. Many people came over and asked for diyas that he had painted himself and bought those. It was gratifying to see their generosity. At the end of the exercise, my nephew had made a healthy profit and enjoyed himself thoroughly. This wasn't only a learning experience for my nephew but also for us. And we are going to remember this diwali forever. Happy Diwali to you too and hope this Diwali brings new learnings your way too. :) Diwali, Happy Diwali, Diyas, lights, lamps. Diwali, Happy Diwali, Diyas, lights, lamps, festival

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.

Diwali Celebrations 2013 at Rohini, Delhi - Celebrations, Festival of Lights, Lights, Lamps, Crackers, Sound, Music, Sweets

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. 

Diwali Celebrations 2013 at Rohini, Delhi - Celebrations, Festival of Lights, Lights, Lamps, Crackers, Sound, Music, Sweets

Diwali Celebrations 2013 at Rohini, Delhi - Celebrations, Festival of Lights, Lights, Lamps, Crackers, Sound, Music, Sweets

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

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