Its Diwali day. The sound that surrounds this festival is conspicuous by its absence. Nobody here knows about Diwali. At least the people who haven’t seen President Obama’s video. Its a cold 10 degrees here and its a college football game-day. So everyone is either huddled at home or at their college stadia, crying out their support.
For me, it is just like any other day. I wake up late to mom’s phone call. She is annoyed that I haven’t woken up early on Diwali. I was supposed to have worn new clothes and prayed already! Well fat chance of that happening considering I went to sleep at 4.30 am the night before. I am just lucky that this is a Saturday.
However, after some stern words are spoken, I do attempt to get my act together. I have finally purchased a Georgia Tech t-shirt which didn’t cost so much that I had to contemplate selling my kidney for it. Thanks to Wal-mart. The college stores all conspire to rip you off. I make feeble attempts at praying. I am sure if anyone is up there, he or she would not be moved the least.
I want to do something that would give the house a different feel at least. I remember the diya my mom carefully packed along with my luggage. And the cotton wicks which she thoughtfully included. There is also a box of incense. The diya is lit, and the incense gives off the sweet smell of sandalwood which fills the house and makes me feel like I am in my home. I half expect to hear my parents tell me to hurry up because we have to go to the temple. No such luck. Its just my roommate’s snores that resonate through the house.
Its the first time I don’t have to wake up at 6 in the morning to have a traditional oil bath. The first time I don’t have to force down a spoon of “Marandu”, that awful tasting concoction that my mother brews up for Diwali, which she says will clean my stomach. There has got to be something to it. I don’t remember ever getting sick after hogging Diwali sweets. No irritating crackers being burst under my house. But I will gladly take all of those to be at home on this one day.
I know that this is probably the first of many, many Diwalis I will spend away from home. This is the first time. So it is a bit more difficult to accept. I know I will get used to it. It is tough, but I have accepted that for the next few years, that solitary diya and the sandalwood incense, will be the only things which will make me feel that I am back home……..