Memories are such a lovely thing. Many of best ones are associated with the festival of light. So I am thinking of starting a yearly post on my blog on the lines of ‘This Day that Age’ column in Hindu. This day in 2013, I reminisce over my most memorable Diwali: that of 1990. It seems like it happened just yesterday. But 23 years, nearly quarter the human life span has passed in the bat of an eye lid. I wonder whether I shall suddenly find myself writing about this year’s Diwali 23 years later with my grown up son in the next bat of another eyelid.
The thing I remember most about that Diwali was that it was when I moved from reading children’s novels to adult’s novels. My mother was a member of a mobile library and she had picked up a Jeffrey Archer and an Agatha Christie. I had nearly a week long vacation at school that year: the longest ever. I settled down happily to read ‘Not a Penny More not a Penny Less’ and ‘Towards Zero’. I remember trying to concentrate on the books amidst the sound of crackers all around. Those years, there was not so much sound control and Diwali used to be celebrated very loud. Somehow I liked it: trying to create an oasis of peace in my mind amidst the entire din outside.
Not that I did not like crackers either. That year father had got a box for two hundred bucks through some scheme at office. If shopping for crackers has one kind of attraction, getting a box with an assortment of crackers chosen by someone else is all together a different kind of attraction. There is this sense of discovery and surprise in opening the box and exploring its contents. Often you find some new type of firework that you might not have purchased yourself. The surprise item I remember from that year was diamonds: small magnesium tablets that glow like diamonds on being lit up. My usual favorites were also there: roll caps and snakes. Snakes are black colored tablets from which a black colored zombie snake emerges on setting to fire. Roll caps are something you start with before Diwali and stays many days after. That year the remaining roll caps led to another incident later that is detailed in this post.
Another memorable thing about that year was my first camera. Those were the pre-digital camera days. My father had got me a Kodak camera for my birthday that year and two free film rolls had come with the camera. We had a fun time snapping away during Diwali.
Last but not the least, in fact the most important: the people. Having been brought up in a nuclear family, I have fascination for joint family with house full of people. My maternal grandparents and my mom’s younger brother had come over to celebrate Diwali with us. So I remember having a gala time with lots of people around the house and the associated chaos.
Those were some of the fragments of memories from the Diwali past. It is all hazy now but the very thought of that Diwali brings a smile to my face.