Diwali Celebrations - 2018
Posted by Strategic Communications, JGI Group on 3 Nov 2018
I huffed and puffed (in anger) as I hurriedly walked over to my Granny’s gate. As I banged it against the wall, a frail head with grey hair popped out from the main door, surprised. I cringed with mild embarrassment because of my impolite behavior. She smiled from ear to ear and cried out to me, “Come on in, darling. I have some bajjis ready for you.” I grinned and ran in, smacking my lips.
“Granny…” I spoke chomping away, “Has anyone ever told you how yummy and spicy your bajjis are?” She smiled, not looking up from the batter she was mixing, and said, “A few have, I suppose.” When I had finished my first round, she gave me another helping, posing a question. “Why did you bang the gate? Were you angry?”
My sheepish face was enough to answer her question. But she went on, “And why was that? Because Mamma asked you to clean your room?” When I heard her, I was about to munch away at another crispy, delicious chilly bajji and stopped. ‘Does this old, lovely lady read the minds of little kids? She has done that before too.’
“Well, I didn’t want to.” I paused. I greedily grabbed a few more that had just been taken out of the hot oil. “Now, what did I tell you about being greedy?” She sternly pulled away. “But, Granny…”
She sighed. “Alright, come along. I’ll tell you a little story - the story of Diwali.” I jumped off the kitchen counter and ran to the hall, as a loud bomb sounded outside. The kids across the street were already having a blast.
She sat down on her favorite mat, as usual, while I sat cross-legged facing her, continuing to munch at my bowl-full of bajjis. And then, I tweaked my ears to shut out the loud sounds outside.
“Do you remember the story I told you last month - about how Lord Rama defeated Ravana and evil?”
I nodded eagerly. ‘Oh goody!’ I thought. ‘It’s the continuation.’
“Well, soon after the war ended, Rama returned home to Ayodhya with his wife and brother. And the kingdom was happy to receive him. So they lighted up all the roads in the kingdom with earthen lamps. Even the road leading up to the palace, where his family was waiting for them. That’s what Diwali means - ‘the series of lighted lamps.’” And she gave a concluding smile.
I was dumbfounded. “What? That’s it? Granny…” I whined.
She giggled. “Darling, there are more stories for Diwali, but you know what I’m going to say.” I rolled my eyes as I remembered her classic line, ‘I’ll tell you that story next year.’
She knew I was bored, and interestingly enough, she had more questions for me today.
“Aren’t you bursting any crackers with your neighbor-friends?”
“No…” I sulked. But she seemed to conveniently ignore that. She went on. “Why not? Are you scared?”
Now, my Granny knew I was a bold person, and that I hardly used the word ‘fear’. She smirked, tidying up the table, and said, “Go on, I’m listening.”
“Granny, firecrackers are bad.”
“Really? How so?”
“They are loud, smoky things that do nothing but scare poor street animals and dirty the air. Mamma gets really sick too. And my little baby cousin is afraid to come here because firecrackers go on through the night. I can’t’ sleep either.”
“Hmm… So, you’re happy when Diwali ends, because there is no noise anymore?”
“No,” I said sadly. “It’s not any better when it ends either. The roads are filled with firecracker trash - you know the burnt leftovers and the tiny papers. Why can’t people clean up after themselves, Granny?”
She looked at me, and with a gentle smile said, “I wonder why too, darling. Sometimes, we may have to tell them to do it, or simply remind them that there is a consequence for all our choices.” She bundled the leftovers of my bajjis on the table along with the other trash and walked into the kitchen.
I thought about what she said. Isn’t that what Mamma was trying to tell me this evening? To clean up after me? I did mess up my room while making Diwali cards for my cousins. It was sure fun to make them, but it was also my responsibility to clean up at the end of all the fun.
Hmm… My Granny is quite clever indeed.
I quickly binged on a lonely bajji I found as I made my way to the door. “Granny! I’ll be back in 20 minutes.”