Monday, November 5, 2007

Homeward bound for Diwali

It’s almost Diwali. My first one after getting married. The first Diwali away from my home – probably in my entire life.

And I am desperately, terribly homesick.

Nothing new actually. I have spent a considerable part of this year feeling homesick.

It’s really no reflection on marriage or married life – but to expect someone to be uprooted from one place and planted in another (irrespective of how good or bad the new place is) – there will be a part of one which WILL shrivel up (for a while at least).

I don’t know how females do it. I know many, many for whom the transition seems to have been painless. Females who seem to effortlessly morph into the dutiful bahu archetype. Maybe they are conditioned like that – and they view their parents home as the temporary abode and thus, moving out is just the natural progression they have expected all their lives.

I, however, was not raised like that. My home was my haven, my pocket of peace where I could come after fighting fires in the outside world. Even the couple of years I was not with my folks, it was my mental safe zone which I could run to as and when the need arose- and of course for festivals.

Now I don’t know where I belong anymore. Not quite there – because there is always the pressure of having to go back. Not quite here – well, because it’s new and all that.

Somehow, festivals always aggravate this sense of rootlessness. Maybe because you give up all the customs and little rituals you have done all your life and have to smilingly accept and do something else (especially if you marry into a different (albeit marginally different) community like I have) - and I suppose, festivals to most of us are the composite of many small rituals which we has done since time immemorial so any change in that takes away it’s essence and heart.

I do not think the in-laws will have the “Narkasur” effigy to be burnt the night before Diwali. Or the early morning (peculiarly Goan) spread of eight different pohas. Though they will have oil diyas – I am not sure they will smell quite the same as they do at home – the grainy, loamy smell of oil and fire and earth and childhood. I will miss climbing up precariously on wobbly stools to put the fiery flame coloured Akash-diya at exactly the right angle or crouching next to my mother as she sits with pots with multicoloured rangoli powders. A part of me will yearn for the pre sun-dawn bath with the ‘uthne’ and “haldi-coconut-milk’ followed by the traditional sandal soap. The smells and sounds and colors so interwoven with the Diwali of a cherished childhood.

In a few years perhaps, I will learn to look at the new customs as intrinsically mine – but till then, I think I will miss my Diwali.

May this year bring all of you much happiness, much color and much light.

Happy Diwali

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