Hi there Tiddy & Pipi
I know I’m supposed to write a post to one person who I missed the most this Diwali… but hey, don’t they say that marriage transforms two souls into one? Well, so for me you two are just one entity now.
London must be far colder than the sort of warm October we’re having here in Delhi. I’m not sure if this is what you are really missing because if given the opportunity I’d opt for the cold and grey London with a walk by the Thames thrown in… than definitely warm Delhi where I still switch on the AC in the car when going out. But come on, there are a lot of interesting bits that you are going to miss once you read my letter until the end.
Let me begin with the post Diwali weekend. If you think the roads are full of that very characteristic post-diwali cracker blitz clutter, then you will need to think twice. Well, quite a lot of the conventional jhadu-walas were expectedly on leave but the citizen have been prodded enough by Modi’s Swachch Bharat speeches and so people came out and made sure that they did their bit to give us back the pre-diwali Delhi as fast as possible. Bits remain… but then even awakening needs time to act.
I’m sure you’re itching to ask, ‘How many people came asking for the Diwali bakshish this year? Any additions to this list?’ Additions don’t matter as giving is always fun for us… but a notable deletion is certainly there. The telegram man was not there. Yes, telegrams did cease to exist since July last year, but the telegram man did come last year and stood outside the door with a sheepish grin that seemed to say, ‘One last time, sir!’ Well, that last time is also over… and he was noticeably absent… and we missed him. And did the MTNL gang and the Post Office gang go missing this year? I remember they had all come together last year and I had asked them to come in, served them coffee that I brewed and then made them listen to this:
You are all professionals and I’m sure you’re proud of what you are doing. I respect you guys for the wonderful job you’re all doing and appreciate the way you’re competing with all the new emerging services by adopting and learning the newer technologies. It is such a pleasure to meet you anywhere and I’m sure you all know that wearing a uniform does take you all a few notches above us all. You are representing the country.
Why do you then need to go from door to door looking for bakshish? Please do not do this.
So did we give them the mandatory hand-out? No. And the sad truth is that they all came again and just stood there with a print-out this time. They were making a note of how much bakshish they were getting from each house. I know the lists are for making the final division of this Diwali loot easier and more accountable… but then to many this can appear to be rather intimidating and threatening. So I just said, ‘Do you want to come in, have coffee with Arvind, that is me… and listen to what I think of this list and your habit of asking for a post-diwali bakshish?’ They stood there thinking for a while and then decided they were better off without my lecture. I smiled and let them shuffle out.
So you did miss the sarkari-shuffle, you see.
Let me now go back to the Diwali eve… I was quite confident that the people of Delhi would go slow on their cracker complex. But no, as the night set in, the decibels went on increasing and the intensity did not cease even at midnight. Where were the Police Patrols and all the regulations about a noise-free post 10 PM period? Delhi seemed to be going berserk with the 2014 diwali trying to create some kind of a record in noise creation. I even went to our seven floor building terrace… and though it was fun watching the rockets burst into myriad colours at eye level, the smoke produced by this colourful display choked out all the fun and I came down to the comparative safety of my apartment.
So what did you miss? The choking smoke? The early morning smog? The high decibels? No… what you missed was the fact that I did click a series of pictures that can easily become a Diwali photo-essay. I mean you missed seeing me in action… because I have anyway shared these pictures on Instagram and will be uploading them all to accompany this essay as well.
Yes, you missed the home-made laddos that Specky made… hand-sculpted laddoos made at home taste better than what the halwais can ever sell in the market! You missed the kheer that Specky prepared. You missed the way we used technology to recite the arti and the prayers during pooja… of course we will add another dimension next year. We plan to use a digital Goddess Lakshmi and a digital Lord Ganesha on the Tab or iPad and let the Diwali pooja be a complete tech festival! But then, I’m sure you’ll be here in 2015… and that would be such a charming new dimension to celebrations.
Yes, we missed you Tiddy and Pipi.
My photo-essay on Diwali 2014:
26 October 2014