Sunday, October 26, 2014

From noise to silence

Years 1-10: Diwali was about food - sweets to be had without any limitation or reprimand, more the better. Clutching my grandmom's saree as the firecrackers went off - with a loud bang, wondering what was so thrilling about these scary things that made so much noise. It was a time when no one adhered to food and bed times, where we would huddle around my granny and she would tell us exciting stories of Lord Ram, his return from vanvasa and the celebrations that followed. This was as close to a child's dream place as i could be. Diwali was much awaited.

Years 10-18: Diwali was about holidays - no more school worries, cousins coming over, meeting extended families and gorging on delicious foods. It was about getting up early, and having a bath before sunrise and giggling and teasing younger siblings with scary stories of hell on narak chaturdashi. This was also about bursting fire crackers - louder the better. It was about getting creative and introducing firecracker games - how to light up all of them at one go, synchronizing time and movements. The fascination of watching your "rocket" blast into the sky and the amusement that a dud rocket would bring on - the heart stopping process of getting close to a rocket that refused to take off and confirming that it in fact was a dud! Diwali meant a lot of things to look forward to - break from school routine, cousins, food, fire crackers and all nighters (all this fun without alcohol, who would have imagined!)

Years 18 - 25: Celebrating the first two days of Diwali away from family - with new friends, and dinners and a few pegs. Then the mad dash home for laxmi pujan , making sure you took the time out from work or studies and planning a trip home, getting ready in our finest - clothes, jewelry, welcoming guests home and tucking into limited portions of food, so as to not lose your carefully tailored fitness regime. It also meant introducing the younger cousins to the magic of firecrackers. Coaxing them to try out a new "bomb". This was also the time to go shopping, with lists of meticulously thought out gifts, lighting diyas with your mom, helping dad put on the "akashkandil" and marveling at the delicate decorations and shadows of light, it was also the time where noise and pollution entered our consciousness and we kept away from firecrackers, more or less! 

And then Diwali turned to holidays with friends, phone calls to families, sending gifts online and propagating the concept of a silent Diwali - without noise and firecrackers. For the last four years, Diwali for me was characterized by holidays - mostly in Goa - with fish, beer, sun, sand and friends or cousins. 
It was like turning into a big beautiful butterfly, made dizzy with new found freedom and breaking away from traditional Diwali celebrations. 
Sweets were replaced by chocolates, diyas by highway headlights, rituals by holiday routines and family by friends.
It was not a bad place to be.
And then this Diwali, because of Sagar's workload, we could not plan any holiday and were stuck at home. And i had forgotten how to celebrate a traditional Diwali. The first two days went smoothly enough - propagating no fire crackers, shopping for pretty diyas and lights, setting up decorations and rangoli, welcoming guests, poojas and gorging on the traditional sweets, which seemed delicious once again. 
What a circle of life!
And since i had time, this Diwali i chose to make "recycled gifts" as my theme and refused to buy any. Every evening, for a week, before Diwali was craft time. I made gifts for a few close ones and my DIY week was a success!

Getting all supplies out

Painting the keys for the wind chime

Painting more keys...this was the fun part

Getting Flipkart delivery boxes cut and resized for the double drawers

The final product - wind chime - gifted to my cousin who is collecting them for her garden. Used a discarded drill bit from Sagar's tool box for my centre piece, also the wooden base/ top is taken from one of Sagar's project

The mason jars, a used pasta sauce jar and another jar with a lost lid! Painted with glass paints and golden markers, stuck to a cardboard base. You can light a tea candle in these and bring home Diwali :)

The recycled mason jars

Cereal box cut and covered with wrapping paper

It is a magazine/ newspaper holder made out of a cereal box!
Chest of drawers made from cardboard for my parents, to keep their knick knacks,
with a pretty ribbon handle for pulling it out

Pretty roomy

And then the next 3 days were sheer boredom, what do you do at home?
The days and rituals had lost their meanings - there is no hell and if there is having a bath one day in a year before sunrise is not going to save you from it! I asked around - i asked my mom, my cousins, my other married friends - what do we do now? Is there something definite that is to be done? celebrated? Anything? The answers were pretty standard - go meet people, do something at home, burst some crackers, whatever! Such an idiotic question - what have you been doing for the last 28 years of your life- do the same! 
Well, I didn't remember beyond the last 5 years and then what i did remember involved my parents and they were not with me. (Since i am married and have to celebrate Diwali at my new home. Its silly traditions like these which make no sense and get under my skin. However i am glad my mother followed these, i had a happy Diwali for 20 years at least!) 
It was like any other holiday, an extended weekend, nothing special to do and nowhere to go and i was bored. 
And that is when my husband and i decided we would go on a holiday every Diwali, because that is so much more fun than sitting at home wondering what is to be done. My mom says this phase of flight is going to last till we have kids, after which we would want to stay home and introduce them and have them experience the same Diwali that we did as children, but then again, for her everything revolves around us having kids, as soon as possible! 

So till then, Goa here we come...

Sources of inspiration for my crafts -

4. Cereal Box Instructables

Also, check out my projects and many other on Sunday showcase by Stephanie Lynn

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