A DIWALI WITH A DIFFERENCE
BY VISHNUPRIYA S NAIR
The growing feeling of excitement is the same as ever and yet, I know it is going to be different from the one last year and the ones before. Diyas are on their way to light the verandah and tummies are preparing for the grand feast, a day’s guilty pleasure. Diwali has thrown the magic dust on me and you as we prepare for the much awaited festival of the season. But this Diwali is going to be one of its kind, one that many would remember for years to come.
For the ones who came home for “a couple of weeks”, until the lockdown lifts, and ended up being at home for over six months, this Diwali is going to be special. When had been the last time we got to drop home for Diwali, light lamps and stuff ourselves with the mouth-watering sweets maa made and spend the whole day with our families? So this time’s Diwali is going to be all about family and fun with loved ones, something we haven’t had since work life and deadlines started ruling over, making us stick back to the new city we had moved into a couple of years ago.
For some, stuck in the four-walled apartments, who couldn’t make it to their homes in time, this Diwali is going to be all about the joy of spending time with ourselves. Yes, we miss the food and the smiles and yes we miss the light one can see from the diyas lit at home. But let us just make the most of our first Diwali with ourselves, try our hand at cooking like the legends at home and brighten our day with the light of love that we light for ourselves. For nothing shines brighter than self-love!
But if we look around, this suddenly changed the world and the overwhelming alteration a pandemic has made to the normal human life, we would come across some really special souls. These souls, with the brightness of their goodness, being the torch bearers of humanity, have worked a day in and day out tirelessly, fighting the darkness that had suddenly pervaded. The doctors, the nurses, the police force and every other unnamed person spread the light of hope at a point when all seemed lost too many. In this sense, didn’t our Diwali, the festival that fights darkness with light, start way before?
With the whole world united against the Covid-19 pandemic that swept across nations with waves stronger than a tsunami, the year truly saw the light of humanity shining above everything. Differences were forgotten and a newfound determination got planted in the minds of every human being, to never stop the fight until normalcy gets restored. In the face of a calamity that threatened the very existence, we saw the transformation of individuals into potent leaders of their own making. Without thinking twice about the risk to which their lives were exposed, we saw them constantly spreading resolve pushing another to overcome the darkness that had taken the form of a pandemic. At a point where millions lost their jobs, millions who barely made ends meet couldn’t do that anymore, we saw human beings striving to ensure the continuity of another being’s existence. There was compassion, care, courage and kindness, all lighting the way for many who had given up to the dark depressive realities that had slowly begun to choke the life out of them.
This time’s Diwali is not just going to be lit by diyas, this time’s Diwali will be lit with the flame of humanity that burns with all its might and has been burning since the time things tried to blow it and leave humankind in utter darkness. This time’s Diwali comes with a reminder of sweet life that today we try to keep safe with a mask on our faces and sanitizer in our hands. For some, this festive season may not be as festive as it usually is, a loss would have left its scars. For some, it is time regained with family, for some it’s a throwback to the last year you sat at home and laughed with a stuffed yet contented belly. But with all the differences that this Diwali has brought with it, the world, with its tests and the test takers, has brought forth the true essence behind the festival of lights. This time, the lights that shine across the globe are not going to be for a day. The light shall keep shining forevermore, reminding every soul of the brightness it carries, reminding every heart of the time when humanity’s power to shine was questioned by a pandemic. This Diwali is surely a very different one from those we have seen and celebrated. This Diwali reminds us of what we can make simply by being humans; a difference. This is a Diwali with a difference.