Lights, Camera and Fun

The festival of lights is here and I am more than excited. There is this vibe in the air that makes me feel so lively. Added to that is the feeling of being at home. Although I am super busy till December but my mother’s blackmail and my own homesickness brought me back to home. Diwali is my favourite festival. I like the lights, the flowers, the rangoli, the food, the crackers, the rockets, the weather, the cool air blah blah blah…the list is endless. Since the day I came back home I have been pestering my dad to put up the Diwali lights. But recently one of our distant relative from our village died which made us “impure”, so we were forbidden to do any sacred work during these ten days. (Yes, stuff like that happens, I am from a small hilly village guys!!!). Luckily the ten days got over today and we are all set to celebrate Diwali. I have forbidden my parents to take any call from our village now days so that no bad news reaches us till Diwali is over. Since two days I have been singing a song in front of my parents which can be roughly translated to, “every tom, dick and harry has put up lights, when would our number come lalalala?” (I am bad at translations, please put up with me)

My obsession with Diwali, lights and crackers isn’t new. I have always been like this. When I was a little girl, we didn’t have a house of our own, we either stayed at my uncle’s place or government quarters. I always dreamed of having our own home, a place we can put up lights on Diwali, a place with a small garden and a swing in it, a little room of my own where I could put up posters and hide my diaries. It’s only after my father’s retirement that we got our own house, but by then I was a BIG girl, who has to stay at random places, study and grow up. It’s only during holidays or festivals I get to stay here. And it’s a great feeling. Having a house of our own is actually one of my dreams that has actually come true.

So, my sister and her husband came to visit us today. He is actually the one who gets the duty to put up lights at our place. I had asked everyone to come wearing their best dresses since I was hoping to have a family photo session today. Well, I should have realized by now that it is extremely difficult to get our family in one frame. My dad didn’t have an ironed shirt; every time I asked my mom to smile she looked like someone is forcing her to eat something bitter; my nephew kept running here and there so most of the photographs had people looking in different directions. I did get some photographs but they look nothing like what I wanted. But you know, sometimes memories are more precious than photographs. For a long time now, my parents’ age and health has been a constant thought in my mind. Looking at them, I sometimes want to freeze the moment so that I could be with them a little longer. Taking more photographs, recording their calls is my way of freezing the moments.

 Growing up is difficult thing to do. That’s why I still like to be a child in few occasions. And festival like Diwali is such a day for me. Do you have days when you feel like or want to feel like a child? Let me know.


Lights and Happiness

Being (not) Beautiful

Eight year old me washed her hands,
Several times a day…
In the hopes of making them,
A few shades lighter….

Sixteen year old me, cursed the pimples on her face,
for making her invisible to the cute guy,
The one she had a crush on…

Twenty four old me,
is still struggling with scars…
Both on the body and mind,Looking at her imperfections,
Wondering what beauty really is,
And if she would ever fit into this perfect world
With its glorious perceptions of beauty.

Years have passed but the standards have been unchanged..
From the red-cheeked , long-haired girl in school,To the tall, fair,kohl-eyed girl in the metro…
The world hasn’t stopped making her feel (not) beautiful…

Being Homesick

I remember the day when my parents left me alone for the first time. I was 18 and my dad was transferred out of Bangalore. As I was in my first year of college, I couldn’t go along with them. I had to stay back at my college hostel.
I remember how devastated my mom was  with the thought of leaving me alone in a big city. For her I have always been a kid who is unable to look after herself. Even after eight years she probably thinks the same. As for me I am not very clear about my thoughts of staying alone. In the initial years I probably enjoyed all the freedom I got. I remember, I didn’t feel like going home that often during my graduation days. However things took a turn when I was in post-grad. I would eagerly wait for Durga Puja holidays so that I get a chance to go back home. I used to make a sheet with the number of days left for holidays and strike a date everyday. The more I was growing up, the more I was getting homesick.

Now that I am in Delhi and thus, a little closer to home, I do have the option of going there as often as I want but I still do miss being at home on important days such as festivals. In the last eight eight years I have been home for Diwali only on two occasions. The same is true for Holi, Rakhi, new years, etc. Apart from the festivities, food has really been a major problem. Every day has been a struggle to find food. First there was the hostel mess, now either restaurants or self made food. It’s like as soon as it is lunch or dinner time, my search for food begins. I feel like I am living in a pre-agricultural society where you can’t get food until you hunt an animal. Added to that there is the struggle of finding food with as less money as you can spend. I have probably spent more money on food than on clothes, and there are more food apps on my phone than photo editing apps.

You know I am just tired of living a nomad life. I have always been a girl who likes to be alone, a little isolated from people but I do crave for a family sometimes. Sometimes I close my eyes and relive those moments of the past;the fights over dividing a five rupee chocolate using a proper scale, buying new dresses on Diwali, and clicking a customary Diwali photograph with my siblings, running to Gandhi Chauk to buy an ice cream worth one rupee, asking for a two rupee commission for anything elders ask you to do.

Ah! I had such a great childhood. If only life had remained the same. But then I wouldn’t have valued it so much. It’s only when you lose something, you realize how lucky you were to have it.
Cecelia Ahern, one of my favorite authors has rightly said, “home is not a place, it’s a feeling.” For me, home isn’t just a feeling, it is probably the best feeling I could ever have.


Weekly Photo Challenge : Nostalgia 

​There’s a exhaust fan in our kitchen which surprisingly seems to be an attractive nesting place to mynas. Every year a couple of myna build a nest in my mother’s kitchen, breed and feed their young ones and fill the place with their droppings and feathers. My mother naturally is annoyed to clean the place everyday, with the constant chirping and mostly with the inability to use that exhaust fan. One day when I was home during my college holidays she told me how she misses those birds, their chirps and seeing those young ones trying to fly,how it is no more annoying to clean their dirt and how she waits for the birds to come again the next breeding season. The same moment she looked at me and said, “just like these birds all three of you too flew away from me, miles away from home.” 

Every time I see these birds, there is a lump in my throat, my mother’s sad face in my mind and a sudden wish to leave everything and go home. 

Posted for: Weekly Photo Challenge