The end of Durgapuja filled our heart with a sense of loss and emptiness! We often murmur:
“pujo asche asche..ei feeling tai bhalo! Ele boro taratari chole jay!”
[The feeling that Durgapuja is yet to come, is better, once it is here, the festival ends very soon! ]
Thus we wait eagerly for Diwali, to fill our heart once again with the festive spirit!
It is a sheer please to pen down the way we celebrated #GharWaliDiwali during our childhood!
I, and my elder sister along with four cousins, completed the group of super six, backed by our aunty and uncle.
I remember how we used to enlist the crackers to be bought for Diwali celebrations, while uncle- aunty was entrusted with the task of collecting money from the elders! Thereafter, we all marched proudly towards the Baazar along with Dadu (my grandfather), for inspecting every single item to be bought!
[Dadu always pampered us, by serving as the ultimate source of crisis management, as soon as we ran short of money! :D]
Every morning, we woke up early, to wrap up the holiday home-works faster; to gather at the terrace where we carefully spread out every single item in the Sun.
[After all, our rockets must rise up to a decent height and our Charkas, must spin for longer period of time than the neighbors!]
And as the occasion came closer, we had to suggest exclusive ideas, for decorating our home beautifully so that it stands apart from rest of the buildings in our locality! I found it quite innovative, to invent new shades of colors, for Rangoli (painting the floor outside our house)! Being uninvited to take part in the event, sometimes, I would rush to grab Ujala bottle (for blue color), or Sindoor (for red color) or even Turmeric (for Yellow color); they should be mixed with mustard oil, in apt proportion to achieve desirable results. Furthermore, we often invented new shades, for example, by mixing yellow with red and so on and so forth!
[I considered myself unmatchable in this task and so, we never felt the urge to buy poster colors for the same! :v]
As they painted, people from our locality gathered around our house to watch the budding artists at work! I could feel my chest broadened in pride as I belong to the prestigious family, where we have such talented artists. I even boasted proudly to my classmates, about my efficiency in the task, as I showed them the pictures (even though my task was only to supply chalk, colors and rid them from mosquitoes!)
We played all the popular songs from the Bollywood movies that were released during the 90s and sang together, while they spent hours painting.
At last, it was Diwali night. The final night of celebration and performance! After Laksmipuja, we would immediately plunge in to burn crackers, followed by delicious Bengali food items, and a gala evening of family performances!
As a youngster, I was extremely proud to reside into such a huge house that certainly looked mesmerizing when fully illuminated by candles and diyas (we used the diyas mostly to decorate the Rangoli and indeed it looked gorgeous)!
Bose Bari, on Diwali Night
I imagined myself to be the princess of an enormous castle, whose task was to monitor secretly, that all the candles are lit up properly. As soon as a tint of cold air, rushed violently to defeat us against our neighbors, (who were our consistent competitors for several years!) we had to rush immediately to protect the candle from being extinguished.
Gradually I learnt the skill of guerilla warfare against our neighbors from my sister, and aunty; we would implant candles closely throughout our house, but lit only the alternate candles, so that the next batch could illuminate our house when the former ones melted away.
Almost all the family members took part in the family performance that continued till late night. The next day was Bhai Phonta! Another special day to be enjoyed with the siblings!
The family function
As my aunty got married, slowly the members of our group began to decrease. We got engaged in our studies, aunty and her family shifted into Bangalore and uncle in Pune… I finally got the chance to prove how creative I was during a Rangoli, as there was no one else to interfere! But alas! I found it boring and uninteresting when you don’t have your family members to cheer for you! So, I stopped Rangoli..or burning crackers..but not lighting up the entire house, as it has been witnessing everything silently!
The next year, our house was handed over to a promoter for reconstructing the building, and we moved into the rented house. That year, Diwali passed, as we all shaded tears and told each other, how we miss them!
Cousins Gossiping in Bhai Phonta
2014: It is another Diwali, as I sit watching the PepsiCo #GharWaliDiwali film, my tears start rolling down my cheeks unknowing! This is probably the last year I am spending in this rented house! Next year, we will again move in the reconstructed house, even though accompanied by a few more families and celebrate Diwali together!
Our Building under construction
Even though the house is no more, thankfully the intimate bonding between all the family members has strengthened a bit more, even though distance has parted us! Thanks to the boon of social networking sites and WhatsApp! And Diwali, shall always remind all the family members, wherever they are today or tomorrow, the mesmerizing sight of our former house, lit up by candles all over and the joyful moments, shared with each other!