With the crème de la crème of Indian festivals — Diwali — just around the corner, I can only but feel a sense of alienation as I see everyone around me hatching plans with their family for the celebration of light.
Well, of course, I do take part in the festivities, but staying away from home does take away the true meaning of this festival.
As I pen down my thoughts, I do feel for all those who are sailing in the same boat as me. Prospects of a better education and promising job aspects bring people like me from towns and townships to unfamiliar cities.
While the idea of living independently may seem all hunky dory to many, the reality of it is actually the opposite.
It has been eight years since I spent my last Diwali with my loved ones. It is not feasible to take a small trip from Delhi-Jorhat (Assam) and be back in time for work during the festival time. Each and every vacation has to be meticulously planned. The family celebrations, get-togethers are blurred by the fast pace of life that I have chosen to lead.
I shudder every year to face the Diwali evening alone — away from the familiar hustle-bustle that I had once seen back home. The evening is meant to be special but not for me. There is nobody to make me feel special about it. The crackers fill the night sky every year on Diwali eve as I watch, but it lacks the familiar sound of festivity as it was with family. Nobody fusses over me, commanding me to make the rangoli, or to dress the right way to welcome guests. Candles or twinkling lights cannot recreate the same magic.
Now, I can strut around in my sweatpants if I want to, and nobody would care for a second glance, while the same act would have thrown my mother into shrieking fits (which now I long for).
Diwali wishes for me are exchanged through phone calls, and my parents no longer know how to comfort me. Because in the end I know, all they want is for me to be at home with them. The festival too, I know, has lost the significance for them down the lane.
Every year, I find ways to fill the empty space that looms large on Diwali, each year turning out to be no different from the past.
As I hear friends and colleague all excited about the festival, some perspiring and worrying about the last minute preparations, some freaking out about the choice of ideal gifts for their loved ones, I observe all this in a pensive mood.
While friends do make up for the family away from home, no one can after all fill that void. Yes it's a tough deal and a painful affair to go through the festivals by oneself, good food and idling away with friends is what most of us seek refuge in.
This year, as I am all set to work on the Diwali night, I realize that life is all about changes and being adaptive to it. So again, while I shall see some brilliant lights colouring the sky, I can only but smile wistfully and hope that soon enough it will be time again when I can spend few moments with my loved family and have the warmth of home all around me.