Finally, the city takes rest after a busy day. The streets have gained back the usual silence from the deafening crackers.
Deepavali brings back a lot of memories. My parents used to wake up at 3’o clock in the morning to arrange for the pooja. I used to wake up at 5:00 AM and intensify mom’s rage by staying on the bed scratching my head. I am still not an early riser. Dad used to make fun of me on every Deepavali by telling a same lie every year. He said to me on every Deepavali, “Deepu, You have to wake up early on Deepavali and take bath before 5:00 AM. Chennai Corporation releases Ganges water (Ganga theertham) till 5:00 AM on Deepavali only. Take bath in the Ganges water and wash your sins away”. I believed those words and imagined myself taking bath in Ganges every year. The poor kid was unaware then that it was false information.
Mom used to arrange for the pooja and apply little kumkum on the new clothes. I was finicky those days itself and used to hold arguments with her for applying kumkum. I used to fix my eyes on the new clothes in the thambaalam and eagerly wait for the pooja to get over.
The usual agenda for Deepavali was, after the prayers at home, we used to pay visits to few our favourite temples and visited relatives to get blessings and to share sweets. Dad always insisted to return home before 10’o clock to watch ‘Solomon Paapaiya’s Pattimandram’. He then continued to remain in the hall to watch other special shows.
I partially had acousticophobia. I used to be scared of the noise of the crackers. Though I used to be excited about wearing new clothes and celebrating Deepavali, I have never burst crackers. My ears were stuffed with cotton and dad used to be annoyed of my unusual fear. Now, I have overcome that fear. My sister used to love bursting crackers and always pulled me to the roads to see her playing with crackers. I used to ensconce in a corner and avoided looking at people bursting crackers. I used to get ignited about wearing the new clothes to school on the next day of Deepavali. I cherish memories about those days.
This Deepavali was quite mundane. I went to bed at 1:00 AM in the morning on Deepavali and woke up at 8:00 AM. I was overwhelmed by grief as I missed to take shower in the Ganges. Mom finished the prayers even before we woke up. As always, I made sure that the kumkum didn’t leave a mark on my new clothes. My husband and I wore the new clothes and our parents showered us with their blessings. Dad enjoyed watching ‘Solomon Papaiya’s pattimandran’ and the entire family gathered in the hall to watch Koffee with Anu as she had a rendezvous with Kamal Hassan. The hot lunch was served by mom and we all were engrossed in a discussion about a ten-headed cobra. I took a quick nap and got ready for work. Mom complained that I worked during festivals too. I smiled, embraced her and left for work reluctantly.