It was just like any other Diwali evening. It was past 6 pm and the sky was already starting to glitter of fireworks. The only difference was that it wasn’t home, and it was perhaps the first time for Dibya.
She had just video called home.
The puja was done, rangolis were set, the flowers, tuning lights and Diyas were beautifully decorated by Baba. But the home that would otherwise be filled with noise, laughters and joy, was kind of silent. Aama and Baba sat together in some sort of loneliness. The Bhajan was playing and the Puja ko Thaal was properly set to welcome the Vailenis. The video call ended with Baba saying “We miss you.”
Dibya looked around her room. Her roommate had gone home for Diwali, while she had to hold back because of her college. So it was only her, the room and the small Puja Thaan that she had made earlier for Diwali. She tried her best to make the Diwali bright in the land far away. She lit wax candles on the balcony, and decorated the Puja Thaan with diyas. She struggled for around 30 mins trying to light up the Diyas, as it was her first time doing it herself. Some Diyas obliged, some didn’t.
She went out to the balcony and watched other homes, balconies and terraces. Lights, diyas, new clothes, happy faces. She thought she would be burning flower pots (Haari Bomb) too if she were home. She scrolled through her phone while she was also thinking about what she should cook for her dinner. Right then, her phone beeped. It was a video on whatsapp from her Baba showing little girls playing vaileni at their door.
This was the saturation point. She could hold it no longer and tears started rolling down her eyes.
She was still trying to control her emotions when there was a knock at her door. It was the maid of her landlady with some boxes. The landlady had sent dinner for her as a Diwali Gesture. And thus with the dinner, the Diwali ended.
This goes out for every other person who might have celebrated Diwali differently this year. Some with friends, some alone, some with good food and booze, some enjoying shopping, but for everyone who in common, share the feeling of missing home. Soldiers, students and people working away from home. People who missed their family, home, selrotis and most of all, the warm feeling of Tihar.
Some may be used to it by now, or it may be the first Tihar this way for some others. They might be missing the amazing food, dewsay-bhailo. Some may not be able to have bhai tika on their forhead, while some may not have their brothers to put tika on. Some may be holding their guns at the borders, not even getting time to miss anything at all… To You and All Others… We wish you all a very happy Diwali.
It may not be the same this year, but there this additional joy you are investing in, when you finally light a diya at home, maybe next year, maybe after that.