Diwali in my childhood was more fun. By the time I was in the grown up category, I was a very boring person. I have learned to be mature, responsible and stopped being fun. My monthly salary was more important than looking at a fire cracker going up in flame. Bursting cracker became a waste of money. Bursting a cracker inside the gutter pipe and hearing the weird noise it makes or bursting a big cracker under a coconut shell and see the coconut fly high in the air or bursting a cracker in a pile of paper so that the papers starts burning, placing a cracker in a different position so that it burns differently, jumping in the sparks of chakri was not supposed to be fun because we had matured.
I don’t have sister and my mother hates to draw rangoli (I don’t know if drawing rangoli is the right action) so most of the time, it was left to me and my brother to draw rangoli. It supposed to be a girl thing but strangely boys in our building were better than their girl counterpart in drawing rangoli. I mean we went wild with colours. Some of us were too good and people like me went ballistic with modern art. I once drew candles and lots of candles before someone pointed to me that I was supposed to draw diyas (earthern lamps). I guess influence of English medium school I studied.
Once I joined college and the professional life after that, the fun with diwali involved visiting friend’s house for snacks. Slowly as friends drifted to other jobs and cities, this treat became a rarity. Then I joined my present company as a infrastructure engineer and everything changed. Working in a 24 x 7 environment is a totally different ball game. When people have holidays, you don’t. A weekend or a public holiday did not make any difference as a holiday. These were the days when the server would be under maintenance.
I remembered the first public holiday when I joined. It was a Dassera and I was told to come in the morning shift. I looked up and asked them “Isn’t it a holiday” and the reply I got was “Kisne bola?” (who said so?). I found myself repeating this line many time in the year to come when fresher joined and were scheduled on a holiday and asked the same question.
Dassera, Diwali, New year, holi and many more festivals were spent in an empty office. Mostly it was not work but just checking if everything is working fine but that’s the biggest downside of a 24 x 7 job. I totally sympathize with similar job like police, fire brigade and doctors. Someone from them has to be there everyday.
Diwali use to be big. The whole world use to celebrate it and some of us were sitting in the office listing to MP3 in the biggest volume. We use to call our friends and family and wish them “Happy Diwali” but we still miss them during Diwali.
The best or maybe the worst part was the night shift during Diwali and that too alone. I use to be on the terrace of our office and there would be crackers all around you. Our office was not close to any residential area so we didn’t hear much noise but we would see the occasional rocket going up in the air. Drinking tea from the canteen and watching the crackers lighting up the sky was an experience in itself. While sipping the tea and eating biscuits I use to watch the fireworks lighting up the sky. Since the last five years, I have always spent the first day of Diwali in the office. Most of the time I had asked for it so no use complaining.
So for the last five years, my diwali is spent in the office. I was in Amsterdam for the last two diwalis and here too I missed diwali holiday again.