A Happier Diwali

Candle on the window sill
Candle on the window sill

Wish you all a very Happy Diwali !

I hope the coming year is bright, beautiful, peaceful, and safe and is the beginning of the best years of your life.

This Diwali finds me alone in a hotel room in New York City. In all the thirty years of my life, this is the first time that I would not have family around me.. or is it?

There was a Diwali when I stayed back at my engineering college to study for my upcoming MBA entrance examinations. And the celebration meant lighting candles at a temple nearby. It was a dark night, but the sky glowed with a blue luminosity that can only be found in the mountains. The villages on the slope of the hills twinkled in the darkness, a silent symphony of light that stretched out deep in the Himalayan valley. The temple was surrounded by a stone verandah… the floor cold against my  bare feet. My match sticks were repeatedly blown out by gusts of wind and I had to shield the flame with my hands to light the candles. The candle flames were so fragile, and looked like they would be extinguished by the wind the moment I left the temple…. Or so I thought.

The next morning, I strolled by the temple again… and discovered that the candles had indeed burnt their way through the night. Left on their own, they managed to outlast the wind and shine in solitary splendor at the cusp of the hill.

This Diwali, comes in the wake of some very sad times for some of our friends… Mine and Radhika’s. A friend just lost her mother, and another friend is by her mother’s bedside willing her to live longer. Both victims of cancer. They are in our hearts and in our prayers today.

It hurts when the comfort of familiarity as we know it, is torn and cast away. When something as unnecessary as a disease takes the life out of someone you deeply love. For a while, whatever we do seems pointless… like lighting up tiny candles or setting off noisy fireworks when you are the only one to see them light up the night. The tears flow till they dry up and leave us bitter and brittle to the core..

I lost my mother when I was young, and I remember the hurt.

But What I also remember is that one fine day, I started noticing the flowers in the garden again, found myself stretching in the warmth of the winter sun as I recalled how much my mother would have enjoyed both. And I smiled.

The people we love never really go away. Their thoughts, and actions and what they would have done, become our constant companions. I still find myself silently evaluating things like my mother would have done… and if I ever lie down while eating, I hear her voice telling me to sit up.

With time, we do heal.

And accept that those we love, are gifts. The time we spend together is a greater gift. And come what may, memories of that fifteen day long happy vacation filled with laughter are never going to be erased by the long times mourning for what we lost…

We start laughing again, and hold hands and smile. The joy returns to our lives… and the next year, we find ourselves cleaning our homes and lighting up candles again.

Hope lives on. And it keeps  us alive !

Diwali, is so full of hope. It looks ahead to a future of prosperity and makes us grateful for what we have been given in the past.. even if all that is left of it are beautiful memories.

I hope for a beautiful future for me and Radhika, and am thankful for our loving family and that means everything to us. This Diwali I will light a candle alone at my hotel window sill, and kick back and spend a quiet evening with the beautiful memories and voices of the past surrounding me.

Truely, a Happy Diwali.

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5 thoughts on “A Happier Diwali

  1. Three very poignant and profound statements in your blog…

    “The candle flames were so fragile, and looked like they would be extinguished by the wind the moment I left the temple…. Or so I thought”

    “whatever we do seems pointless… like lighting up tiny candles”

    “discovered that the candles had indeed burnt their way through the night. Left on their own, they managed to outlast the wind and shine in solitary splendor at the cusp of the hill.”

    Thank you once again Ashish ! 🙂 It spoke to me again

  2. @ Coretta: Thanks for reading it !
    @ Kanna: Name one post of mine which is not senti ! If you notice this entire blog seems like an exercise in sentimentality
    @Floyd: Thanks mate. You are too kind !

  3. And yes, Nauti, as graceful as ever , joined me in lighting up some candles at my hotel, and we spent the night walking around New York City. Fun !

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