The time to get home from wherever in the world you may be. The time to return to your roots however high you may have climbed. The time to be the child you were once — collecting crackers, stuffing mithais and doing rounds of the mela. Of buying mitti ke bartan and chini ke khilone. Of larger than life Lakshmi-Ganesh your family could never afford. Of getting the same chotu set home and consoling yourself saying this is the best one anyway. Of soaking diyas yet again.
Diwali. The time of making way to Kanpur to the old family home. Of meeting your cousins after months and spending afternoons playing and wrestling in the staircase. Of drying the handful of crackers you foraged in the sun and keeping guard lest Sony from the next house flicks some.
Diwali. The time to meet that boy you liked dressed in your best outfit and him still not noticing you. The time for sulking because your mother did not get you the shoes you wanted. Of buying new linen for the Diwan in drawing room and sofa covers for the centuries old set inherited from.your grandmother. Of finally being able to get that one terracotta lamp you’ve always wanted, of putting it up and dancing.
Diwali. The time you miss home the most. The time of crying quietly in office through the Diwali lunches and dinners. Of calling home and not speaking lest mother gets to know you are miserable alone. Of getting back to an empty home and going to bed with sounds of sparklers and laughter from the next house. Of sleeping hungry and cold.
Diwali. The time that tells you who you are and where you come from; of how important your family and friends are. Diwali the time when you are a child again.