21 October 2009

Just the Two of Us

I didn't write about Diwali before now because I had been feeling really sad about it this year. Last year at this time, we were in Delhi, celebrating with my husband's family. I could hardly believe that a whole year has gone by since we were there lighting diyas with Mummy, playing with patake with the kids, eating incredible food and puris at every meal, and visiting the mandir. This year, living in our little temporary apartment and not having many friends in the area yet, and then missing all the local celebrations for one reason or another, felt so depressing.

Then I pulled myself out of the doldrums and decided to make it nice, even if it was just me and V. I went to the Indian grocery near my office and bought a big box of Haldiram's kaju burfi (my husband's favorite sweet), a smaller box of laddoos to share at the office, and three small clay diyas (99 cents each--that's how much we paid for 50 of them in Delhi last year!). We got the ingredients to make pakoras and chai since it was cold and rainy. I thought about getting flowers to use the petals to make a rangoli, but they were too expensive to tear up like that (what--am I becoming a Marwari like my husband?? Hehe...) so we just got a small bouquet and put it in a vase.

Sharing the laddoos at the office with the others in my department was fun and helped to set the mood.

On the day of Diwali, V. and I waited until nightfall, then set things up for a small pooja. We put the burfi, some incense, and the flowers near our little Mahavir Bhagwan, and made a plate with rice grains, red powder, and the three diyas which we filled with oil and lit. We sang a few songs, did aarti, shared some burfi, and then set the diyas in the windows of the apartment before making our pakoras and chai.

The next morning we got up early, dressed up, and went to the mandir where there was a Jain Diwali celebration. We did aarti again and received blessings and prasad before going home again.

V and I both agreed that Diwali was actually really special this year, even though it was just the two of us. The light of the diyas reminded us of our family in India who were celebrating too. Even though we only had three diyas, their light seemed to be a part of the larger celebration back in Delhi, and it felt pretty magical (if I can be so corny).

We both hope that next year at this time, we'll be celebrating with family again! But now we know that being just the two of us is pretty wonderful too.