The Festival of Lights…. To Light Up Our Lives!

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Holiday season is about to begin in the Western hemisphere…but for all Indians, it has already begun – with a blast! Diwali is always a big deal to Indian families… whether in India or not, and it defines our culture by displaying the values of good deeds through the display of the victory of good over evil – a story told in the Ramayana. The festival celebrates good over evil as lord Ram returns to his home after 14 years of exile, defeating the evil. Not only does it teach us these values, but it offers us an excuse to stuff ourselves with delicious Indian sweets – ranging from complete liquid to solid balls of sugar….guaranteed to satisfy any taste buds! After all, food is the best part about ANY indian celebration!

Our Diwali celebration at the Kapoor residence started the Saturday before the twenty-third (Diwali Day). The celebrations kicked off with a puja, a formal prayer, in which we thanked our gods for all we had, and invited them to our house. We had the company of a huge number of friends and family, who also joined the prayer with us. Followed by that, we all gathered in a circle and sang traditional, cultural songs, and for the first time, I sang too. The rest of the night was all chatting and chewing – gobbling up our favorite foods with fried bread and delicious desserts such as ladoos (basically balls of sugar), rasgullas (basically white balls of sugar – soaked in syrup), and kaju barfis (soft diamonds made of cashew nuts – with shiny, edible foil! – so shiny and geometrical that they could probably be used as jewelry. Ah.. reminds me of those kindergarten edible bead necklaces).

The Diwali function at our place was a success – and we awaited the actual Diwali day eagerly – where we could fill the house with beautiful lights, candles (what we call diyas!), and once again – eat. Coincidently, yesterday (Diwali), happened to be the start of a four-day weekend (double the fun!), and for the first time (in like, forever), I could enjoy with my family without stressing out over work (IB life…yay..). In the evening, we performed the traditional cleaning of our house – and then went over to a family friends’ place for a delicious Diwali dinner.

Today, I am just reflecting back on these past few days, and how fun they were – wondering how Diwali was for all my family and friends in India. From what I heard, they had a blast – and made one too – with all the fireworks they set off. Every year, Diwali turns out to be the best holiday, and puts me in the holiday mood – and after it passes – it always leaves me nostalgic, yet eager for another year to bring another Diwali.

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