I think not, but after years staying in Delhi, I was beginning to think otherwise. The festival of Diwali in Delhi is all about spending, spending and more spending.
People buy in loads, gifts, sweets, crackers, and clothes. Yes, Diwali is the biggest festival in North India, and Delhi, I guess can beat the rest of India in terms of money spent during the phase of running up to the festival.
To a large extent, I guess it makes sense too. We all like doing things for the family, making sure the last of the family members gets what they want, especially if we can afford it. But somehow the practice of bursting crackers makes me cringe. With huge price tags, lighting fireworks almost seem like burning money to me, an expenditure we can do without.
I love Diwali festivities. It begins almost a week back, when we hunt out the decorative lights from the store, and hang them on our entry way. And then we do the shopping for the festivities a day or two before. No, Diwali is not a traditional Bengali festival, but years of staying with people outside the communities, I have developed a special liking for this festival. We will then be putting up a Rangoli display at out doorsteps, a beautiful decoration made with coloured sand. Since the last couple of years, my daughter has started taking the responsibilities of doing the Rangoli.
So what did I buy this Diwali? I bought candles, and earthen pots for lighting, called diyas, and Rangoli colours, and sweets, loads of them, to distribute, no not to my relatives or friends, but to everyone who works for me. From cleaners, to domestic helps, from security people at the gates, to the children of my maids, I love distributing sweets and sharing joy with people, who wouldn’t have had them otherwise.
The day went off really, nice, I must say. I cooked food, and made a sweet, something which I love doing, I made Malpua, a sweet fritter dipped in sugar syrup. In the evening, I got my daughter and child sit with me for the evening puja, or prayer, and then came the best part, when my daughter’s friends came visiting and loved my Malpuas. A bit of praise from the little ones can really make your day.
Oh yes, my daughter did burst crackers, and loved it, in spite of my reservations. But the best part was when she helped my hubby in launching a Chinese lantern in air. Yes, Diwali become truly special this time.