Yesterday I was talking with my colleagues about how different Deepavali festival is now a days. Obviously there is no real Deepavali in US, based on where you live, you may get a light a small cracker. Other than that, it is just lighting small candles, sweets and pooja at the house. You can also go to some local Indian gathering on the weekend, but in general I try to avoid them, because they don’t remind me of anything about what I know India as. It is just a couple of hours of people standing on your face with too much glitter on the faces and the clothes. Not much oxygen at these parties.
My best memory of Deepavali from my childhood was when we prepared the fireworks at my house, with my friends. First time I saw someone preparing them was my bulli-mamayya (Uncle). We started at least a couple of weeks ahead, starting from buying the gun powder, shells, preparing sisindris, mathabulu, taara juvvalu and chichubuddilu. Then we dried them in the sun for a couple of days. We also bought Lakshmi bombs, seema tapakailu, and kakarapovothulu. The best part was those Deepavali guns where we load pink reels of small “bullets”.
There was several times I thought I can make a big enough taara juvva (rocket) and hang on to it to fly high and see how the sky is during Deepavali night. Then Deepavali was never fully complete before I stepped on a still hot burned out chichubuddi with bare foot, the morning after.
Then we discussed other nostalgic moments with my teammates. There were these kite wars, where different street kids fly the kites, and have them criss-cross with each other. Whosever kite stays flying, it is the winner. One of my proudest times of my entire life, when I was able to get my kite high and high in the sky, in competition with big guys (compared to me, a 3rd grade kid), and win it.
There was a lot that went into preparing for those street fights. Preparing the kite was a skill, but that was obvious. We took preparing the thread very seriously. We made it stronger by applying a glue sort of thing we made. The glue was prepared from cooked/wasted rice, and broken glass. The broken glass was grinded with stones, and mixed with the rice. Then it is applied to the thread. I guess it made the thread super strong, and it destroyed other threads during the wars. The crazier stuff we mix in that paste, we thought, the stronger the thread would be.
Oh man, those were some great times. After the conversation with my teammate, walking back to the desk, just for a fraction of second, it occurred to me…what happened to those times, and what I am doing in this country and in that building at that time… just a fraction of time. Because I know life balances.
Then I realized what makes me so much happy these days and why I don’t miss my childhood days so much – the two daughters. And soon, I know that once the daughters grow up a little more, I am going to have a second childhood with them all over again. Until then, for me, one of the daughter must be the fireworks and the other kite wars 🙂