This was my first Diwali at home after moving out. I was back only for a week but every moment with my family.
This day doesn’t count. I was restless, eagerly waiting to meet my family. When you visit home only twice a year or less, the urge for reunion grows stronger and reaches its peak when there are only a few hours between you and your family. My flight was after work but my mind wasn’t on it that day. I constantly thought about home and upcoming days. Technically, I would reach home after midnight which would come under day 1. It rained heavily outside; I could book a cab with double the fare due to surge pricing. The stony path between me and the cab was underwater by then so I requested help with my luggage from the driver. Heavy pouring rain caused traffic delays, making me tired, excited, and anxious all at once while we waited for our delayed flight due to bad weather prolonging my anxious wait further.
I got back home between 1 and 1:30 AM. Every time I visit my city, something has changed since the last time. This time, there were more streetlights, random decorations for “beautification of the city,” posters and banners showing love for football. Though I wanted to breathe in the sweet night air as my cab drove me home from the airport, I was afraid to open the window because of other drivers on the road. I suspected that my driver might be drunk too but couldn’t do anything about it. Finally, we arrived at my house where Mom and Dad were waiting for me at the door. Dad looked thinner and weak while Mom appeared sickly with dark circles under her eyes and a pale face with a hint of sadness, loneliness, and despair in her smile. As soon as I put down my bags, she hugged me tightly – compensating for all the times she wished I could have been with her before now. Mum served me dinner quickly – knowing what foods would make me happy when arriving late into town like this!
It was Saturday and I woke up in my own bed around 8:30. Immediately, an unknown fear made my heart skip faster. Since I couldn’t recall having a bad dream, I ignored it. By 10 a.m., I had breakfast and hoped to see my grandma who lived in my uncle’s house – a nice and comfy place. When I arrived, little bear (my cousin), who is only nine years old and so thin that one can count his ribs, was still at school. Feeling tired, I fell asleep on grandma’s bed until he returned later that day with something special for me – a rakhi tied around my wrist! Rakhi is typically reserved for brothers from their sisters but this innocent gesture of pure love from little bear left me feeling incredibly lucky to have him in my life.
I had to go home for lunch with my parents, or they would be upset. During lunch, Mom seemed restless and couldn’t eat. By evening she threw up twice and became sick with a fever. I didn’t know how to ease her pain but stayed by her side the rest of the day.
In the evening, an uncle arrived with sweets and greetings. Since Mom was in bed, Dad sat with him and started talking. After some time, Mom struggled to get up from bed to offer tea while Uncle talked about how this “illness” was 60% caused by the mind and 40% caused by other nonsense.
His arguments made me angry as I knew how much Mom was suffering, yet he dismissed it so easily. Despite my anger, I remained calm for my parents’ sake. My sister decided to stay in her room rather than endure false courtesy.
That’s how Day 1 ended.
Surprisingly, I woke up at 8:30, which was early enough for a Sunday spent at home. After breakfast, I had to pick up Little Bear from his house. He would be staying with us for the whole day, playing games and watching movies until his mom came to take him home again. However, my aunt dropped him off here so I didn’t have to go out after all. While Little Bear watched a movie with my sister, I learned how to wear a saree with my mom instructing me and me following along. After 2-3 tries, it became apparent that wearing one wasn’t as easy as I thought; perhaps more practice was needed before I could pull it off nicely. Later on during lunchtime, I dozed off and woke up when lunch was ready. Afterwards watched another movie with my elder sister and cousin in the afternoon.
Mom was better, but not completely fine. She’s tough and won’t talk about her health until it’s too much. My parents aren’t romantic; they rarely speak kindly to each other without regrets or taunts following. Dad became upset/angry over Mom’s health, and the atmosphere turned toxic. I don’t want to witness the negativity I’ve seen all my life before moving out. Although our family isn’t ideal, sometimes I pretend that it is. It hurts me when my parents fight over small things because I love them a lot. Little Bear spent time with us until evening while I tried to stay positive by reading a storybook, but felt sad and helpless thinking about my family. When he left, I realized that I didn’t have any friends to meet up with so instead engaged myself in another book for the rest of the day – this is how Day 2 ended.
It was even more boring, as I had to visit my college for some business. After breakfast, I got ready and looked outside at the sunny and hot day. The heat made me feel dizzy and my heart beat faster. Suddenly feeling sick, I didn’t trust myself to take a 2-hour bus journey alone. Instead, I rested while reading a storybook in bed.
Later in the evening, we planned to meet some relatives but after getting dressed up, I started feeling sick again. Despite waiting for improvement, my upset stomach and indigestion only worsened. Giving up on eating altogether in hopes of recovering quickly, I laid on my back hoping to get better soon.
The day was hot and unpleasant, so I decided to stay home. Later, one of my aunts visited me. She’s fed up with her troublesome daughter and felt sad and hopeless. Seeking advice on how to handle her ill-mannered child, she left me feeling helpless as well because I’m not good at counseling people in difficult situations.
In the evening, my family went out to meet a family for my sister’s marriage while I stayed home alone for over three hours reading a book. Because of my sensitive stomach, I was cautious about what food I ate. When my parents and sister returned home, they told me embarrassing stories from the encounter that made me laugh but also made me realize that my arranged marriage might be just as bad.
In the evening, our uncle came home, and since there was nobody else around, we had a long talk. He spoke about the business he started up and how he planned to expand it while discussing opportunities for growth in the future. Despite my desire for a high salary and work-life balance, I felt uncomfortable as I realized how limited my thoughts had become. It seemed like doing something extraordinary was beyond me; instead, I would always be average.
It wasn’t just reading books and idly rolling over in bed. In the morning, I was determined to finish my college visit and did so. Afterwards, I visited my office (the local branch) where some of my old classmates worked. None of them were close friends, so I didn’t expect any special excitement from anyone’s face. I tried to meet up with my old roommate but she seemed too busy to care. Despite calling 2-3 other people to send her a message, I never heard back from her before writing this. With only three days left on my trip and many important things yet to be done, visiting my college gave me mixed feelings that may be worth exploring in another post. The rest of the time was spent overthinking about my life choices and dealing with some family issues that had arisen during the trip – which seems inevitable sometimes!
It was Diwali and Kalipujo, a time when we worship Goddess Kali and decorate households with candles, lights, and lamps. We also enjoy the madness of color and creativity through rangoli. This celebration goes beyond religious barriers.
In the morning, I got ready for some important work at a nearby office which unfortunately wasn’t completed. On my way home, I saw some pandals – some with idols and others without. The puja was supposed to take place at midnight but the pandals were still incomplete.
I wore a comfortable outfit that wasn’t fancy but made me feel relaxed. In the evening, two of my mom’s siblings came along with their families. We lit up our apartment while meeting our cousins and finishing reading “The Song of Ice and Fire.” That’s all there was to it – my Diwali was simple, pollution-free; no crackers or fireworks!
It was the opposite of the previous day. I woke up, got dressed, and went to the bank. It took almost half a day to complete my tasks there. This is why I dislike banks so much; they take too long for even small queries or tasks. On my way home, I saw two more puja pandals and met with a friend whom I had promised to see. We couldn’t talk much as he was in a hurry. When I returned home, I ate lunch and accompanied my mom on some shopping errands that needed my attention. Afterward, I spent time with an old school friend before returning home after 8 pm. Although it rained heavily throughout the day, it didn’t interfere with my plans which made me glad.
My lovely journey came to an end. I didn’t do much on the final day, but many things happened around me. I rested and prepared my body and mind for the next day’s flight, goodbyes, and return to monotony.
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