Despite the onset of winter, Diwali is a time that always makes me feel warm. Although I have celebrated 16 Diwalis in India, some of my favourite memories of the festival are from when I lived in London before that.
Diwali is not a day, but a week where a lot happens, cousins come over, we drive across the city to gift sweets and other treats to friends and family. Fireworks are a must (as a kid probably the most important) and who can forget the smell of grandma’s freshly fried samosas… ah! the samosas. 1998 was truly a simpler time.
On ‘the’ day, it was a bit more slow-paced. In the evening, as a family, freshly washed and dressed, with every light switched on and every candle lit, we’d gather around to pray. This marked the beginning of the last night of Diwali. After the feast, the adults would gamble using kidney beans as chips. As I grew up, kidney beans turned to real money and the pinch of a lost hand stung more.
This Diwali, I’m back in London but it’s going to be a little different. The samosas won’t be fresh and they’ll be no fireworks, out of respect to my dogs back in Bangalore, India. It’s going to be strange this year, but I’m sure there’s a virtual replacement somewhere in the app store!