Beyond the bright lights of Diwali
"Didi, we came to work at 5:30 am this morning. The stars were still twinkling. We felt scared walking down the street. And we'll need to come even earlier tomorrow." Naively, I asked why. "Its the day after Diwali and there will be so much work. You know, my father doesn't sleep at all. He wakes up at 3 am...takes a bath, does his puja and then sets out for work."
That's how my Diwali day began...with this conversation with my maid's daughter. The mother-daughter duo finished working, took its Diwali bakshish with folded hands and a smile and moved on to its next stop. A house in Chilla Gaon. I didn't have the heart to ask when their Diwali would start. And deep in my heart, I knew it would be over even before it began.
In the evening, we went down to burst crackers. My daughter was all excited. My husband lit the first one and then threw it on to the lawn. I cringed. I said, "Don't throw it there." He asked why. Well, I mumbled..."because it's more difficult to clean." Then it was my daughter's turn. "Beta, please throw the burnt crackers in this corner." She gave me a puzzled look. What's got into Ma? Why must she nag even on Diwali?
Well Beta, because if there's one thing that the Citizen Journalist show has taught me, it is to break on through to the other side.