fbpx
Thursday, May 6, 2021

Dealing with Diwali blues: Celebrating away from home

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Living away from home during the pujas is particularly hard for me, as I assume it is for every Indian in a similar situation. It doesn’t matter how far away you are because the honed familiarity of the puja season routine never fails to make you feel like you’re home.

The first thing is always being forced to spend time with relatives I wished would move to Canada already. I used to anxiously await their arrival, sitting in my itchy kurta, customer-service smile plastered on my face. I would always dread it and count down the moments until I could go out into the sun and take pictures. But I find myself missing the drama that comes with customarily required family reunions, and accept that the only drama I will be involved in this year is the long list of SRK movies I will be re-watching, alone, in my room. 

Another important aspect of Diwali is the fashion. The sarees and lehengas and kurtas, bindis and polkis and mehendi. Usually, I would find myself walking M Block Market in GK (New Delhi), scouting out the best mehndi artists. It was always an adventure, always a gamble, the thrill of choice between endless versions of the same peacock. This year, I bought little packets of mehndi from an Indian store in Parramatta, and will hopefully be able to design simple mandalas on my left hand. I plan on practicing on other people first, obviously, turning them into my test subjects under the guise of homesickness. Who would deny a homesick girl some happiness at the cost of an uneven design that would wear off in a week?

I am not allowed to make a rangoli outside my room because of the carpeted flooring. I will have to settle for a hand-drawn design stuck on my door to welcome Laxmi into my humble abode. I thought this was celebrating Diwali the wrong way, and someone would come and chastise me for ruining the festival. There are so many traditions I feel like I am flaking on without a good enough excuse, but a lot of living by yourself is about compromise. Technically, I will not be celebrating Diwali. I can go to the Indian student union’s Diwali ball and dance to Gal Mitthi Mitthi and call it a day, but where is the tradition in that? Where is the stress that is caused by my little cousins sitting in my room with gulab jamun juice dripping down their chins? Where is my broken heel, my faulty zipper, my empty bottle of white rangoli powder?

In my experience, a lot more goes into Diwali than those seemingly trivial things, the most important of which is all the love that is celebrated. Diwali is the festival of lights, and I like to think that relates more to the light we nurture and share as a society than the incessant burning of firecrackers and fireworks. And I know that no matter where I am, and no matter how many times I’ve watched DDLJ, I am celebrating Diwali the right way because my spirit is in the right place.

- Advertisement -
Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Sydney. In 2020, she was nominated for Young Journalist of the Year (Premier's Multicultural Media Awards)

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

0
Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

0
To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Goa's Chief Minister Pramod Sawant

Indian states declare journalists as frontline workers

0
  Journalists working in Goa will be designated as frontline workers and will be vaccinated against Covid-19 soon, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said today. "We have...
#bringthemback #strandedaussies Pawan Luthra on ABC The Drum

‘Bring them back’: Pawan Luthra discusses #StrandedAussies on The Drum

0
  As the harsh second wave of COVID-19 sweeps through India, its drastic effects on the Indian healthcare system and the sharp rise in infections...
australia dispatches medical supplies to India

Australia dispatches medical supplies to India

0
  Australia will deliver essential medical supplies to India today as part of the initial package of support to the Indian government for combatting the...

WATCH: How a van told Goans to ‘stay the f*** at...

0
  In Goa, a van drove around Calangute playing a unique jingle to promote staying at home. The jingle goes: Stay the f*** at home Stay the f***...
australia's india travel ban

Australia’s India travel ban: Hard to find it not racist

0
  Australian citizens have been banned from Australia. It would be interesting to conduct a global poll about why citizens would be refused entry into their...