Amidst the mizzle and drizzle of rains

are the nights full of dance and vigor.

A celebration of the divine

goes on for nights that are numbered nine.

Popularly known as Navratri, this festival-of-nights

sets the perfect stage for the festival-of-lights.

During Navratri, we fast and practice self-control. We sing and dance to our heart’s content. We often let go of our fears and express freely. This helps cleanse our mind and reflect on our inner strengths. So by the time Pujo concludes, we are liberated of our qualms and are filled with as much high energy as is required to take on the challenges and the mood of the new season.

It is the season of no sowing.

It is the season of fall.

It is the season of dull skies.

It is the season of Autumn.

It indeed is the season when everything around seems to be dropping. Trees shed their leaves as our body sheds energy and we feel lazing around. The only thing that keeps us going, is the reverberation of our inner strengths that we mastered during Navratri.

Isn’t it perfect?!

It is. In fact, nature’s plans are always perfect for us. Reason why, most of the festivals in our Utsavpriya (festival-loving) nation are timed according to nature and if we celebrate them with the right spirit, it encourages a harmonious life.

Another well-seasoned festival is Deepavali, nicknamed Diwali.

Autumn seems to be loosing to winter and the guest-of-honor is Diwali. Amidst the waning natural light, we light lamps and welcome warmth that shall fill our hearts and encourage us to live through the season with as much vigour. This is what Diwali symbolises.

The true spirit of Diwali lies in inspiring cheerfulness. The expressions are varied; cleaning the house, splashing new décor, lighting lamps or adorning our abode with a series of light, dressing up all new, indulging in good food, being creative with flowers, indulging in an interesting play of colors to make our rangolis attractive enough, and of course worshipping Ma Lakshmi. But everything is concerted to outshine the darkness of this long night of the season. 

While the environment around us is not as cheerful, we ought to find our ways to remain cheerful and buzzing. We onboard our winter journey by welcoming Diwali and celebrating it with a bang.

Over the decades, we have been doing the same things on Diwali. But Diwali-Then and Diwali-Now feels very different. Wonder, why ?

Diwali-Then used to start with the much-pondered task #DiwaliKiSafai to finalizing the menu of #DiwaliKiMithai (Snacks). Selecting that perfect #RangoliDesign worthy of becoming the talk of the society. Climbing up the trees to pluck aampattas (mango leaves) to make those imperfect #Torans at home and fighting over the lighting ideas. Finishing half the laddoos and chaklis while being prepared and finally waiting for that moment when Ma-Pa would say; chalo beta, is baar ek dress aur le lo. It was all priceless.

On the D-Day, moments glorified and there were sparkles all around. Everything was competing for its glitterati; right from the sparkling clean floor, gleam of our ornaments to the reflection of diyas.

Diwali-Now is also about DiwaliKiSafai. We still make rangoli. Diyas are still being lit. Lights still exist. Torans are still being put up. Laddoos & Chaklis still exist. Dressing up is still fun. Then where is the difference. Why do we say; Diwali me ab wo mazaa kahan ?!

Reasons are many. Like; Safai is not a yearly or a family affair anymore. Rangolis are in plastic to save time. Diyas are tea-light or just LED. Torans are sourced ready-made. Laddoos and chaklis are seen as calorie chunks and not as a means to indulge in mother’s love. We buy new dresses throughout the year. So while celebration is the same, indulgence is not. We don’t live the festival over a month. We live it on the D-Day. We are constantly trying to make it perfect for those pictures. But the real fun lies in imperfection.

This Diwali, let us attempt to

indulge in the imperfections.

Instead of arranging things to perfection, let us get rid of the unused stuff that has been cluttering our home for years. #Declutter

Let our hand-made torans spread the love of the #GendaPhool (Marigold flowers) & aampattas (mango leaves) that are shaped imperfect.

Let us also look through our wardrobe to get hold of that lovely outfit that we wore years back. It may not be perfectly new but it will definitely bring in all the memories of our perfectly happy moments.  

Let us flaunt our hand-made rangolis that are often made imperfect by a kid at home.

Not a perfect rangoli by Ruchi Adlakha

Let us relish the laddoos & chaklis that are not perfect on the calorie count.

Let us light diyas that are not shaped perfect but earthen.

Let us thrive on the path of “tamso-ma-jyotir-gamaya”.

Let us survive without the new and faster means.

Let us revive with nature.

Aao, is Deepavali ki raat, lagayen mitte ke diyon ki kataar. Aur manayen asli tyohar.