Coming Home for Diwali

It is that time of the year again when we promise God to light thousand diyas if our bosses approve our leaves to head home for Diwali. The joy of seeing the words “approved” next to our leave request is unparalleled for those of us who stay away from family. We know exactly how Lord Ram would have felt when he returned to his home town after 14 years of vanvaas. And one of the reason for celebrating Diwali is just that: family reunion.

The warmth of the joy we feel seeing the 100 watts smile on our mom’s & dad’s faces when they see us is enough to light the thousand diyas we promised to God! When mom hugs, we feel as if we have been blessed with all the riches & wealth Goddess Laxmi has to offer.

Diwali excitement begins months before the actual festival: the race to book the tickets before it gets sold out, trying to finish off all tasks assigned by boss well in advance so that it doesn’t jeopardize our plans of tasting mouthwatering laddoos prepared by mom at home.

Helping mom in preparing the delicious sweets & namkeens for Diwali has its own share of sweet & savory moments: Has the sugar syrup reached the right consistency? There should be two taars (threads) when you stretch the sugar syrup between your index finger & thumb. Has the oil reached the right temperature? Why don’t you write down the right proportions? The chaklis are not crisp… add more rice flour. Noooo… don’t put raisins in the laddoo, I hate raisins. The fight over the consistency, ingredient, quantity, and ratio may look trivial but these are the moments that we will carry on in our hearts & laugh over it on future Diwalis.

Every street & every corner looks alive with colorful lights & people thronging the shops for Diwali purchases. Every shop is decorated to entice customers. Even as winter slowly approaches, the festive spirit & enthusiasm warms the cold October air.

Goddess Laxmi who is known as Goddess of Wealth is worshiped during Diwali. We do all the rituals & poojas to please Her. We pray to Her for wealth & prosperity in the coming year. But what exactly is wealth? The first thing that comes to mind is money. Then comes gold, silver & jewels. Now let’s imagine Goddess Laxmi blesses us with lots of money, gold, silver & jewels. Will that make us happy? Yes of course! But will that happiness be equivalent to the happiness we feel when we see our mom’s 100 watt smile when we come home for Diwali? Or when our friends throw a surprise party on our birthday? Or when our families & friends applaud us when we win a competition or an award? Or when our neighbors bring mouthwatering delicacies for us?

I believe unconditional love is much more valuable than all the gold & jewels of the world. And if you have someone who gives you that then you are undoubtedly the richest person in the world! So this Diwali, I wish you dear reader that may Goddess Laxmi bless you with wealth of friendship, wealth of affection & wealth of unconditional love. Happy Diwali!

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