A Week before Diwali: Then

Almost three years into an IT Software development company, I have realized that an IT guy is very enthusiastic only on a few days in a year. These are the holidays, the typical ‘colour’ days and the traditional days.  On the other days he generally whines about his salary, his boss, his company and finally himself in that order; if not, he probably has ulcers in his mouth. :-D

We had traditional day this Diwali at our office. Happiness and memories hit me and the nostalgia took me 15 years back when the celebrations were filled with more enthusiasm and the festive mood would set–in a week or two before the main festival.

Chapter 1: The Holidays

Our Diwali vacation would be of 21 long days! The Semester exams got over and there would be nothing to study; absolutely nothing. We stayed out most of the time. ‘Missed calls’ were still not invented; we used to shout out the names of our friends who stayed on the higher floors to tell them to join us play.

Chapter 2: The Sport - Cricket

We played in the building compound. Three half bricks made up for the stumps at the striker’s end and a flat big tile at the non-striker’s end. We had our own set of rules which would supersede all the existing International Cricket rules.

  • No LBW.
  • Fast ball objection.
  • One tap catch out.
  • Direct shot outside the building declared out.
  • Direct shot on a tree outside the building after which the ball would bounce back into the building – Fight and resolve!
  • Current Out – The name ‘current’ implies that a fielder with his foot on the stump at the non-striker’s end would act as a stump himself. So, catching the ball and stepping on the stump would be as good as hitting the stumps.
  • Cheating was allowed; not officially but as a last resort, the losing team would go for cheating than losing!

There were many rules. I smiled and giggled jotting down those points on the way we adapted our cricket to the playing conditions in our building compound.

Chapter 3: The Post Lunch Activities

Cricket would go on till lunch. Who needs a power nap after lunch! Every afternoon would be planned. It would be playing cards, carrom, video games, WWF or cricket trump cards till evening followed by a short session of cricket again.  After sunset pakda-pakdi, hide and seek, dumb charades or chor-police would follow.

Chapter 4: The Vamp(ire)

A good and everything-is-going-fine and everyone-is-so-happy story will always have at least one character who is good for nothing. She would kick us out of the building every time she didn’t go to work. We all used to hate her. On one unfortunate day she came running out of her house and took my bat. I’m still in receipt of that bat. I still hate her for that. Shhhh! She is still here.  She is my neighbour. Another vamp stayed just in front of the building. Whenever the ball went out of the building, it mostly went into her house; she never returned them back. :-(

Chapter 5: Killa (Fort) making

This would be our pre-diwali must-do activity. All of us would so passionately be engulfed into making the killa that we played nothing. We would go to a nearby hill to fetch mud and stones. I remember using matchsticks to decorate the killa, making a chor-darwaza and placing an idol of Shivaji Maharaj on the top of the killa. The craziest thing would be done on the day of Diwali- we would bring all our firecrackers and blow up the killa.

Chapter 6: The Firecrackers

These were a necessity. Who wants new clothes or gifts! My Dad would be made to bring the crackers from a wholesale market at Kopri (Thane). Lavangi bomb, Laxmi bomb, bullet bomb, double shot 1000 ka maal and the beast – atom bomb or the sutli bomb. Blowing up Firecrackers, I think is a literal meaning of the hindi sayng – “Baap ka paisa dhue me udaana” :-D

Chapter 7: Chomping Diwali Snacks

The delicious chivda, chakli, besan laddu, karanji, shankarpali. A task would be to deliver a plate full of our diwali snacks to each one of our neighbors and friends. They would do the same- more snacks!

Of all the chapters, I only have the last chapter with me now. Life taught us all those chapters by giving us or by spoon-feeding us a vacation (read 'time'). It depends on us to take out time; help mom with the pre-diwali cleaning chores; meet our friends; talk to those who care; stop judging people and love them for who they are; play with old friends, laugh and share smiles with them.

This Diwali, try to overlook your troubles, be cheerful and wear a smile. Have some fun with the enthusiasm of a kid that you left long back.

Wishing you and your loved ones, a very happy Diwali from me and my loved ones.  :-)


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