It was Diwali yesterday.
Since 2016, we have been escaping Delhi and running off to Goa for the 4-5 days around Diwali when Delhi is particularly enveloped in smog. It’s not a pretty (or comfortable) sight at all. Every year we’ve gone to Goa, and we’ve gone to Pousada by the Beach in Candolim.
Y and I LOVE being at Pousada. The food of course is lovely, but what is truly the reason that keeps pulling us back there is the atmosphere and the lovely owners who run the restaurant themselves. They are very chilled out people, they even have a few sunbeds laid out (under shade, because hello this is India and the sun is harsh here). I have memories of having taken blissful afternoon naps there, ha! At this point, Pousada genuinely feels like a home away from home.
But this year, I didn’t want to go on a vacation so soon after our return from France. It was a 2 week break after all, and I have some important projects to get on with at work!! It takes me at least a week to get back into the swing of work things after a long holiday, so I didn’t want to go off just when I had my momentum back (sadly this time it’s taken TWO weeks, and I’m just now getting back in to the thick of things) (my fellow self employed creative type people will understand).
Deep inside, I was also a little enthusiastic about lighting up diyas at home, and doing a #GharWaliDiwali after a long time. I love traditions (fun, non-imposing, and voluntary ones only please which I CHOOSE to do – just clarifying) and I have happy memories of Diwali day from our childhood* and also from my early years in Delhi. The first couple of years here when I was living in Safdarjung Enclave, I’d go to BA’s house for Diwali. We’d do rangoli at her place, light diyas, take photos (very important), eat a ton of yummy food and watch TV. It was fab.
I realised Y & I hadn’t really started our own homey home Diwali tradition, and I wanted to do it! Goa & Pousada were our Diwali traditions – I knew this intellectually but not emotionally – until yesterday.
We were going about our day doing regular things at home, when I really felt like we should be sitting at Pousada at this very instant! Well, that’s how traditions are formed, and you only realise something is truly an emotionally linked tradition when you don’t do it.
Not to say I wasn’t glad to be home – I was. We lit up the fairy lights on the bookshelf and created a cosy atmosphere. I’ve always wanted to string up fairy lights on bookshelves and have a cosy couch around where I’d curl up and read a book while sipping on a hot drink – and I did exactly this yesterday. It was everything I’d made it up to be in my head 🙂
I even got some genda phool from a local vendor (mainly because I wanted to give some business to said local vendor) and made a small – calling it an “arrangement” would be a stretch, so lets call it a – floral border for the diya, and of course we lit that diya up on the exterior. We didn’t have too many diyas at hand (I thought we did, but turns out I had given them all away at some point in the past), so we didn’t put diyas in the balcony – but no stress. It was still nice & cosy and perfectly Diwali-esque. We watched** SRK on David Letterman followed by IIFA awards. Classic.
Another touch was that I was bothered to make a little Diwali card of our own this year!
I was also relieved to note that people didn’t burst as many crackers as the previous year. This was confirmed by my help who said the same thing this morning.
AQI in our area is only in the “Very Unhealthy” range this morning, and not “Hazardous” as it had been the past few years. Now, lets pray to the rain gods for a nice wash down to clean up this mess and we’re sorted!
* This is how we’ve always celebrated festivals at home. Growing up, my mom was a full time working mom with a very busy job and didn’t have time to adhere to crazy levels of traditions. I’m very glad about that. But she always made time to facilitate small but wonderful things around festivals – like eating chandua up on the terrace while hiding from the moon on Kumar Purnima, lighting diyas on our balcony on Diwali (my sister and I did this, with me doing the grubbiest of jobs being the, ahem, younger sibling), worshipping our pens & writing Om with them on Saraswati Puja (and then not studying the whole day, ha! All my fellow odias will remember this as the best festival ever), and so on.
** “Watched” is a bit of a stretch because Y was mostly on his phone and I was reading. We did look up every once in a while when Ayushman & his brother cracked a good zoke.