You know, there is Diwali, and then there’s Kalipujo. We Bengalis have two things to celebrate – Kalipujo first, Diwali next. They fall sometimes on the same day, but mostly next to one another – and right behind them come “Bhaiphonta”, the Bengali “Bhaai Duj”. My Diwali/Kalipujo is essentially two days of sitting at home cooking and feeding people – friends and relatives tend to come over to our place for some fun and frolic, but more importantly, these days are reserved for me playing with some of the kids in my neighborhood.

I never was one of those who was squeamish about firecrackers. As a kid, I would even help make it. My uncle would made giant “tubri”, the ones which, once lit, will spill a burst of light straight up. Sometimes, he would stuff the mixture of iron powder (lohachoor) and a number of other stuff too tightly, and it would burst, and I was therefore mostly strictly told to not go near them when he lit them up.

Nevertheless, I did. Of course I did. I was a bad girl.

But Diwali to me was also about the homemade desserts, the bowls of rashamalai and gaajar ka halwa, the plates of nimki and gujiya, and the platters heaped high with luchi, with tiny bowls of aloor dum to keep them company. It would mainly be an all-vegetarian Diwali for me, and we would celebrate with bottles of cold Pepsi and cups of hot tea, and later in the night, coffee, to keep us awake through it while we played cards.

One fine year, I found myself stuck in Bhuvaneshwar for work during Diwali. Imagine my utter chagrin to find myself in a little hotel room, with no one to talk to, and only super polite hotel staff to keep me company. I was busy feeling sorry for myself, quietly in my room, missing my family, and having a lovely pity party for one, when suddenly someone pounded on the door. I waded reluctantly to open it, and to my utter surprise found a very old friend of my uncle on the other side. Apparently, my uncle was worried about me, and he wanted me to not be alone on Diwali, so he called up his friend and gave him my hotel address. It took no time for the friend to figure out in which room “Madam Banerjee” was located – after hearing his story the hotel staff, who was standing behind him – was only too happy to guide him to me.

So, I spent a happy Diwali at his place, getting fed many many good things, and I left with a huge smile on my face afterwards. When I saw this advert, I was suddenly reminded of that event, and felt slightly sappy. Probably, this is the season – the little nip in the air is back, and so is happiness for me. Also, my uncle’s friend’s in town, so maybe I will return the favor, what say?

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Disclaimer: This post was written in response to Indiblogger’s #GharwaliDiwali Contest.

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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