As soon as the festive season kicks in, my childhood memories of Diwali start flashing. The end of Dussehra was the ultimate sign of festive vibes. Adults would start prepping for Diwali delicacies and us kids for our vacations. Diwali was the only time where we would get a long vacation and a chance to embellish our home with diyas, lanterns, new furniture, and so much more. But now tables have turned and we wait for the festival not to mingle but to enjoy the break from our hectic lives.
When we were kids, we would yearn for Diwali as it was the best time to meet all the family members. But now we hardly get time to talk to them on the phone. Therefore, to mark this auspicious festivity, I decided to take you on a nostalgic trip by listing my childhood memories of Diwali. Why are we waiting? Let’ get started.
Compilation of my childhood memories of Diwali
1. Forceful house cleaning
There’s one thing that every kid hates – house cleaning and we children were no different. And Diwali cleaning starts one month prior. The tasks allotted to us were mopping, dusting, cleaning our wardrobes, throwing away our old stuff, and whatnot. Our mom would allocate a timeline for finishing the task – in short, it was always a do-or-die situation. And in return, we were bribed with chocolates, new clothes, and toys.
Now: Gone are the days of cleaning ourselves because I hardly get time from office chores. Our house help is assigned with the task and she does everything as instructed!
2. Making lanterns at home
This was a mandatory affair every Diwali. We never had Google or YouTube to browse through designs. We would apply creativity, copy designs from others, and make lanterns. No matter how ugly the lantern turned, our parents always applauded our efforts. Mom would especially put up our lantern instead of the custom ones. It always boosted our confidence.
Now: Arghhhh, custom-made is better because we hardly have time and enthusiasm to explore creativity!
3. Assembling of cousins
One of the greatest memories of Diwali was the get-together of cousins. Altogether, we were 13-14 kids, including my brother and me; so you can imagine the madness we experienced. My mom would make more than 100 chapatis every day. Besides, our daily regime was pretty fixed – playing cricket, ghar-ghar, cards, board games, or hogging Diwali delicacies.
Now: Everyone’s priorities have changed. Thanks to mobile phones, we at least stay connected virtually.
4. Shopping for new clothes
Shopping for clothes was our favorite activity but taking 13-14 kids at a time was a hurricane task. So, our parents would hire a mini-van, cram all kids in it, and head to Kumar Dresses at Dehuroad. We were already in pairs, and one-by-one each pair would head towards the shop, and others would remain seated in the car. Once done, the instructions were very clear – reveal the shopping only after heading home and we were obedient back then, well to an extent.
Now: Myntra, Amazon, Nykaa Fashion is the new savior.
5. Division of firecrackers
We all had choices when it came to firecrackers. I was more into the noiseless ones like bhuichakkar, flower pot, and rockets. However, during distribution, everyone would get the same type of firecrackers. It was upon us to undertake a barter system with our fellow cousins. So, I would exchange noisy ones with noiseless ones. Of course, this was never a smooth transaction but who cares? We were content with whatever we had!
Now: It’s been years, I haven’t touched firecrackers and I am aware of their environmental impact. So, I haven’t used them for ages. I crave for sparkler but again avoid buying it.
On all days of Diwali, Abhyangsnan was mandatory, it is even now! Abhyangsnan is a ritual where everyone must wake up before sunrise, apply oil, and ubtan followed by a warm water shower. Mom always emphasized if you fail to wake up then brace yourself for a life in hell. It was pretty scary because we grew up watching Tom and Jerry and knew how hell looked like (the dog in devil’s getup and brewing lava). But bathing 15 kids in two bathrooms was a Herculean task and again our pairing came in handy. Before sunrise, we were all ready and shining. It was indeed so much fun followed by the most joyful task ever – sleeping again. Because waking up at 4:30 am was not our cup of tea and mom would feel sorry so she would make us sleep again.
Now: Yes, I totally and completely follow this without fail. Yes and I sleep after the shower as well.
7. Day of faral
I vividly remember that Padwa was the day of faral (Diwali delicacies), which meant hogging faral the whole day. All these years, my parents maintained some amazing bonds. So, all our near and dear ones would share their faral with us, which is why our kitchen would overflow with delicacies. That is how this ‘faral day’ came into existence.
Now: I promised my trainer that I am going to avoid all the faral, so I am staying away from it. Yeah, that’s a different story that can’t keep away too long but I am trying!
8. Embellishing home with rangoli and diyas
One of the best memories of Diwali is decorating the home with diyas, rangoli, and lanterns. My cousins hailed from a small-town village and they had a tradition of putting rangoli on cow dung. We couldn’t get cow dung but then we would use mud and draw “thipkyanchi rangoli” (rangoli made out of dots). Galicha (sanskarbharati) rangoli was out of our league and never a fad. Believe me, thipkyanchi rangoli would give a tough fight to galicha, it would come up so beautiful. I was never a maestro in that so I contributed only to comments and a few touches.
Now: I continue to light diyas and I prefer buying them from small vendors. The same applies to lanterns as well. Due to space crunch, I don’t really like making rangolis. And as I mentioned above, was never into that creativity.
9. Inviting school friends
Bragging about cousins is a ritual amongst friends, right? That’s exactly what we would do too! We would invite friends to our place and have a blast. You can imagine additional kids in an already group of 13-14 is a madhouse altogether. But indeed it is the best childhood memory of Diwali to cherish forever.
Now: Yes, I follow this ritual not to brag, but mingle and cherish our golden days.
10. Tearful goodbyes
Goodbyes are always painful and ours was a bit extra because 15 people to no one in the house was difficult to digest. We would cry and cry our hearts out while bidding adieu to all our siblings. The moment they left, we would reminisce all the wonderful moments we spent together and pledge to have a more entertaining and more memorable Diwali the next year. The only obstacle amid this was our Diwali homework. It would help us heal and give us the strength to deal with the pain. I know it’s filmy but the matter of fact was the deadline for completion. It would give us a mini heartache and no time for a sulk. Helped us get over the painful phase.
Now: Whenever I come across these Diwali memories, my eyes get filled with tears. The distance was never a problem during those days but it is now! Time was never a problem during those days but unfortunately, it is now!
On a parting note
These were my childhood memories of Diwali. I hope they took you down memory lane. I staunchly believe this is how Diwali is celebrated. I feel sad about growing up, facing challenges, distancing ourselves from family, ego clashes because festive time is the only time that brings everyone together. However, no one has time to carve all these memories. I hope our next generation understands the value of relationships, family and continues to cherish bonds forever and forever!
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