I had the most non-Diwali Diwali of all time. I didn’t clean up my house or decorate or light a single lamp as I usually do. I didn’t even feel inspired to make anything sweet. I spent some parts of last week away from home myself. A large part of the reason was VC had been away for over 10 days and I’d really slipped into the solitary mode, which doesn’t leave much room for feeling inspired to celebrate. Or at least that was just my excuse this year. Actually, this feeling of ennui hits me every year right before Diwali. It’s the only festival the non-believer in me feels remotely enthusiastic about, more because of the nostalgia associated with the traditions my family has associated with Diwali, rather than the religious significance of the festival itself. So this year too, as is the case every single year, I waited for the ennui to creep in, pass and make way for last minute panic. As it always does. But, it didn’t. This year, I felt no need to do anything, not even the little traditions we have managed to build for our little home of two.
Instead, I stayed out of the house, on assignment, stuffing my face with delightful food, being taken around another property I would otherwise not have the privilege of seeing on the inside, and generally treating myself to a good time of solitude. I came home only to leave again to go watch Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (More thoughts on this in another post. Maybe.)
I didn’t make it the usual Diwali parties we get invited to. I was just not up to dressing up, meeting people and making conversation. I didn’t even actually wish too many people, aside from family and some friends who wished me. I took no pictures at all. It was an altogether quiet time for me. Eventually, when VC came home on Sunday, suddenly I felt inspired to at least cook us a meal. And I made a most non traditional, un-Diwali-like meal of grilled chicken, buttered veggies and saffron herbed rice.
But perhaps the festivities did eventually kick in a wee bit, and I made a batch of really creamy, rich rice kheer.
And then as per usual, like we do every Diwali, we went out to dinner like we do every Diwali. I watched and heard a few fireworks on our way home, and it somewhat felt like Diwali was int he air. But really, this has been the strangest festive time. First of all the festival came and went in a jiffy. But mostly I was surprised at how unmoved I felt. No pangs of nostalgia, no enthusiasm to participate or socialise, and no frenzy to be a part of anything remotely festive.
It truly does feel like the end of an era for me, in many ways. I wish I had the words to explain how and why, but for now, this will have to do.