I am, by far, the most non-Diwali person I know.
And imagine my utter vexation that I have been rudely awakened from deep long-weekend slumber, by something as insolent as a hyperenthusiastic neighbour testing Bijli patakis. Yes, the same hyperenthusiastic one who lights up rockets in blinding daylight.
Of course, my mother sees the opportunity of my rousing, for employing my services in doing the dangerous household task involving great skill and dexterity – hanging out the clothes. Yes. My mother has decided to protect our humble abode from the invading forces of patakis, with wet clothes.
So, being the middle-class household that we are, any breathing surface in our real-estate arrangement will be dedicated to the display of what makes our wardrobe. And how it all looks when it’s wet. My grandmother secretly believes that our neighbours hold up binoculars from across the street, and examine the state of affairs of the discrete variety of clothing, and so has a strict regulation of hanging out the shames inside our dwelling. Of course, it never occurs to her that the same neighbour does not appear to be fazed by putting out black-turned-purple Pumbukar Classics with holes that don’t exactly supply functionality. Not even cosmetic. Forget kinky.
But coming back to Diwali.
It’s suddenly cool to diss the patakis at Diwali. And it’s suddenly cool-er to jump the bandwagon – as opposed to jumping onto it. And it’s the coolest to not acknowledge Diwali as a phenomenon at all. (This theory is well-researched. The source being a large repository of status messages on FB.)
I find the coolest theory, the most interesting, because it heartily takes after my most favorite schools of BS-ing. The George Carlin School. Step back and look at it. You get broke. You do strange things like set everything on fire. Think about it. You are giving people who find making 1-2-3 noodles a formidable intellectual effort, explosives, and are automatically vesting in their power, the ability to blow themselves up. (Are you also wondering if people with short fuses will blow out faster? What about the tuss-patakis? And the ones that misfire? Is the opposite of that surefire? Or are you also imagining how funny it would be if humans could spontaneously combust?)
You also eat abominable amounts of rich food, and then enter the vicious circle of gastric-hell. Some will pass out in gutters in parts of the city they never knew existed. Some will embarrass themselves before previously-prospective employers/clients. It seems a lot like a birthday – recurrent and requiring a lot of effort. And the toughest of the lot – requiring civil and sociable manners.
No, don’t get me wrong. I don’t not like Diwali. My favorite bits of the festival are not very unique either. The several lamps, the fairy lights and the stars – like even the sky’s put out its best for Rama’s homecoming. The varieties of rangolis, the smell of flowers of every hue, the smell of temples spilling over onto the streets, the charged spirit and the infectious optimism. For those rare times in the year, the entire city feels like it throbs to a single pulse.
And honestly, I have no reason to complain. It’s a three-day weekend. Which means unlimited chai-chugging, book-devouring, movie-watching, friend-bashing, sweet-eating, home-food-belting, spending-time-under-bed-with-dog-if-i-had-one-ing, catching up-and then-tanking up on sleep. Whee hoo.
Ok, scratch that last one out. Hyperenthusiastic neighbour has just discovered the chain of 50-bijlis.