Diwali… as it should be

“People are not buying only and you are bargaining. 3 days are left for the festival and people are missing from mumbai. Even I have to celebrate diwali” complained a clip and hairband salesman in the train yesterday.

I bought the clips and wished him a happy diwali. He smiled.

I went to dmart to buy few haldiram boxes to gift and I finished the process in 10 mins on a Saturday.  It was that empty!!! I was surprised. As the boxes got wrapped, I looked around. Something felt missing. Not in the mood to do small talk, I stood there admiring their fine craftsmanship at wrapping. The ladies who were gift wrapping, talked amongst themselves. “It is so empty today.”
“Yes, something is missing” said the other one.
“My thoughts exactly.” I chimed in.
They smiled..I told them that I was just thinking the same thing. It is so wonderful that I got a seat in kasara local in the evening.  Surprising! They were on the fourth box and there were many to go. While they packed, we discussed how diwali has lost its charm in a city like Mumbai. Everyday is like diwali here. The true essence of diwali can be experienced only at home.
“Will you guys not go home?”
“No, madam. We don’t have leave.”
“Oh” I said, trying to ignore the sadness in their eyes. I left after wishing them a happy diwali and was slightly surprised with their cheerful comeback.

On the way home, in the rick, I tried to figure out if their smile and cheer was genuine or otherwise. The auto was going so fast, that I was scared that it might tip over. I told him to slow down. He told me that the road is empty. Nothing will happen. I understood his point and tried to keep control on my hair. “Everyone has gone to their village.” he added.
Why didn’t you go?
“No one to take care of the rickshaw”
“Even of I go, I am alone. No one in village. Diwali seems better with others like me here in Mumbai.” He added.

Though Mumbai is mumbai. It is a wonderful place to be in. It has a place for everyone. Alone, single, families…. everyone. Mumbai is a place where you can survive even if you are alone or away from family. For someone like me, whose family, cousins, distant relationships are all in Mumbai, thankfully,  I was never away from my loved ones on diwali or any get togethers.

I feel good knowing that many people have gone to their villages for diwali. I will hopefully go on Tuesday. This will be my first diwali away from Mumbai out of many more to come. I look forward to the excitement and the wonderful experiences I will have.

Hope you have a wonderful diwali wherever you are. Honestly, I don’t know the real purpose of diwali. All I know is that we pray to goddess lakshmi for prosperity. I hope you have enough of it to share it with others. Keep smiling and spreading the cheer.