The Festival Of Lights
The party begins from Dhanteras - the day to raid markets. I am the one who hates crowd but not this day. The crowd is all smiles, fancy and colourful. For some it is the shopping of the year, for others it is the earnings of the year. Unusual day when both the shopper and the shopkeeper are in benevolent mood.
I usually like the exquisite sculptor work available on these days. Talented villagers from far flung hinterland showcase their expertise. Pity that it is not encouraged and marketed by the authorities.
Mythologically, there is no concept of Chhoti Diwali, unlike Chhoti Holi when Holika was burnt, but as Holidays used to begin one day before Diwali, for us kids it was Chhoti Diwali. This was the day to test fire our toy guns so that they don't misfire on the D-day. This was also the day of decoration, putting Jhaalar - the light bulbs.
Then came Deepawali. Guns, Atom Bombs, Phuljhadis, Rockets, Chataai, Lehsun. However, the stuff I loved the most was Anaar and Chakarginni, especially when more than one were running together. Ladies of the house are usually afraid of sound and blast, so they would stay away from Bombs, and would be content with Phuljadis.
Fun would get doubled when cousins also join the party. We usually never bought crackers directly from the city markets because of the exorbitant rates. They were directly bought on wholesale basis from the villages where they are manufactured. Cost was the factor, but quality was also better. More sound, more colour.
Of course, how can I forget the Laxmi-Ganesh Poojan, and lighting of Diyas and Candles before this celebration. "Is Din Padhogey To Saarey Saal Khoob Padhai Karogey" - Mummy says, so we use to keep with us our favourite books during the Pooja. Once Pooja gets over, time to munch on Kheel, Khilauney and other sweets.
When this never-seem-to-be-ending night ends, it breaks into the dawn of Jamghat - the day of endless kite flying in Lucknow. This day, no man does nothing except kite-flying, and ladies join too. Did a detailed post last year on this - The Beginners Guide On Patangbazi.
Then comes Bhaiyya Dooz, the exact replica of Rakhshabandhan minus Rakhis. Sisters are lucky, for they have two official days of loot-khasot every year, apart from non-official ones. Not that I mind. I have sisters and cousins abound, Isliye Zeb Thodi Halki Hi Rehti Hai.
After almost a week of festivities, Man Nahin Bharta. Yeh Dil still Mange More!