Friday, November 09, 2007

An Indian Muslim 'celebrates' Diwali in an alien land, remembers the childhood

I am not in my City and that has made such a big difference!

It's Diwali and here I am sitting far away from my friends. Will not visit any home tomorrow.

Have no friend to greet here and can't enjoy the holiday either. Though a few SMS I have received, haven't sent many.

No Gujhias. No sweets. A friend called me to tell that my 'mithai ka dabba' is lying in office, and he is going to take it home.

Diwali is the biggest festival in India. Though Dussehra fascinated me more in the childhood because of the huge effigies burnt, Diwali was no less exciting.

I always had more Hindu friends than Muslims and never felt left out during any of the festivals.

The neighbours would come and place 'diyas' at our door and in the verandahs. The mithais would come from every flat.

The young ladies of the nearby flats who were younger would come and touch my mother's feet also. We were the only Muslim family there.

That was an intriguing sight to the new neighbours who would find it strange why rest of Hindu families had this special relationship with a Muslim household. And by the next year, a couple of Eids later, they would also become as close to us as others.

[Who cared about any cultural differences or Hindu-Muslim divide then? Ultimately what matters is friendship and relations...]

As a kid I was not much into bursting crackers but phuljhadis, 'saanp' [the small black tablets which were burnt and unending spirals emerged from them] and chakris were always brought for me. Occasionally Anars also but no patakhe. [Please don't say Phatake or fatake, it really turns me off].

Once though to impress a girl I did set fire to a 'bandar bomb' holding it in my hand. Fortunately the cracker took sometime before it exploded. I got a scolding from everybody in the locality. [I was 12 or perhaps 13]. Boyhood bravado!

Rush of memories. So many incidents, which you relive, when you are free. What else to do! Here I am blogging on Diwali eve. Anyway, refresh our memory. Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Rama Chandra Ji to Ayodhya after 14-years.

So Happy Dipawali to All of You, who have come to this blog. And also to those who haven't :)