and now I am down...with a wimpy fever of 98 point something. Its not even a roaring, thundering shake-me-bones fever that one can milk for every drop of human sympathy its worth. And I also have a sore throat which I am trying to nurse with a vile concotion of over boiled Red Label Tea, ginger, cloves and honey. Oh, yeah...its also Diwali today. Little babies if you are reading this , be afraid...very, very afraid and go call your mom, for parental guidance is needed for the next part.
You see I hated Diwali with a vengeance when I was little. I was terrified of any form of fireworks and this is not fun when your Dad totally goes goo-goo eyed at the sight of them. Infact I am told that when I was really little (this is why little babies need to be told this ghastly tale) he spent the better part of the month making all kinds of wonderful pyrotechnics which would then be blasted into space or simply lighted over a period of two days in the company of the neighbourhood kids. This also made him the most popular Uncle in the neighbourhood. For some reason this stopped after my sister was born but his love for setting money on fire (he is also an incorrigible smoker) continued. So the Diwali season was like a shopaholics dream season for him. I have to admit I liked the ones which would light up beautifully (like the anars and phulzharis) but I hated the bombs/crackers and the rockets and the ones that went wheeeee! on the ground. I abhorred them and could not wait for our share of fireworks to get over so that we could go home. To be fair to my darling, pyrotechnic loving Dad I will have to admit that he never bought those dreaded bombs/crackers home, the ones which were lovingly called Chocolate Bomb (what's so chocolatey about a thing that makes a big thump when lighted) or Aloo Bomb (why bring poor Mr. Potato into all this). But in a colony where everyone comes together in the evening to light fireworks there was no dearth of kids with the stuff and I would have to fight the urge to run indoors (and be labelled a wimp forever) every time they lighted one of those nearby. In the end they would lay down a line of these little phut-phuts called Chilli Photka down the length of the road and create a mighty racket..that was the grand finale. The smell of sulphur would hang heavily in the air next morning and the streets would be littered with paper from the fireworks. Apparently the din was to scare away the ghosts and dark, evil bump-in-the-night thingies.
See I did not know that and now after hating Diwali for so many years its time the ghosts got to me...yes, little ones I am done for. I am missing the thwack, bang and boom of Diwali today*. So be very, very afraid and if you are in India go burst a cracker and eat a ladoo to scare away the ghosts and never, ever wish Diwali away. And I will hobbble over to my bed into the warmth of my blanket and sip my tea.
* and the good food too.