Yesterday was Diwali. Diwali is the Hindu new year. It is also known as the Festival of Lights. I won’t go into detail about what it’s all about, etc. But you can read here, if you’re interested.
Growing up, it was a very exciting day for us. Various aunts and uncles would send gifts to my family – sweets, chocolates, fireworks, whiskey, champagne (for our parents, of course) and all beautifully gift-wrapped. Of course this meant that my mum (dad had nothing to do with it) was also busy wrapping and sending gifts to their friends and family.
Then there were the fireworks, lighting of diyas and going to parties at friends’ houses. I remember, one particular year, an aunt sent us a huge jar filled with Smarties. My sister decided she wanted all the orange ones; and I actually spent time picking them all out for her (and eating the rest myself).
I never appreciated how much hard work went into the whole production. It is only after I got married and had to start wrapping (badly) and sending gifts from Hub and I, and organising my own home, that I’ve come to realise how stressful it must have been for my mum for all those years.
Apart from the gift giving and receiving, we also had to prepare for the Poojas. These happened at our home and at Hub’s office. My family were always quite relaxed about it all. Hub’s parents are a bit more religious and… Gung-ho about everything. We needed to take an assortment of silver bowls and plates, flowers, prasad (food offered to the deities), rice (uncooked), milk, fruit, coconut, etc. It isn’t easy to organise! Luckily, my MIL sorts out most of these things 🙂 She asked me to bring the flowers and the iPod and speakers. I forgot both. Oops.
This year was extra special for us. This was our first Diwali together as a family. Last year, V was only a few weeks old and we were still in London. Hub wasn’t able to get away from work to spend it with us. I was very happy to spend Diwali with both my parents (the first in six years), but we missed Hub.
Usually we do our prayers at home in the evening. This year I decided we’d do it in the morning. Apart from getting it out of the way, it meant that V would be fresh from his nap and bath and hopefully enjoy it. Because it was just three of us, it didn’t take very long. V was most interested in the uncooked grains of rice and spent most of the time playing with it (and trying to get some in his mouth). He was also quite mesmerised by the incense sticks!
MIL told us to be at the office by 4.30pm for the Pooja over there. But of course, as usual, things were running late and we didn’t start until nearly 6pm. Keeping V entertained wasn’t as difficult as I envisaged.
First he just toddled around and played with the safe.
He then entertained himself by emptying my wallet and playing with its contents.
Once we started the Pooja, he lost interest quickly (can’t blame him, really) and desperately wanted to play with the collection of mobile phones sitting on the desk.
It was time to eat after that – V was quite exhausted by this time but tried some new food and was quite happy 🙂
My parents made sure we enjoyed every Diwali. Although he is still too young to enjoy the fireworks and gifts (especially the cash gifts), it is my duty to make sure V enjoys all his Diwalis as he’s growing up.