Every year, around this time, I close my eyes. And see this.
A large picture of Lord Hanuman, carrying sumeru parbat, is mounted on the wall. Below the framed photo is a grand wooden door, decorated with garlands of fresh flowers and a recently bought toran – a wall hanging – made of mango leaves and Lord Ganesh at its center. At the door edges, a string of colorful LED lights, blinking in rhythm, are pinned carefully. On either sides of the entrance, stood large banana trees to welcome you. There is shubh labh written in vermillion on either side of the walls attached to the main door – a common notation signifying good luck, abundance and prosperity. On the floor, there are rows of lit earthen lamps sitting along a meticulously drawn rangoli depicting a festive kalash.
And as soon as I step inside, I find a stack of mithai boxes and gifts arranged on the side table next to the divan. Before I can comprehend, I am instantly hit by a festive aroma – a combination of home made food including puri, halwa, gobhi sabji and dahi vade, and incense sticks, camphor, firecrackers, and mustard oil lit diyas.
I walk towards the mandir and find flowers, fruits, kheel, diya, batti, pappad, God Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi scrupulously arranged on the aasan and mummy, papa and sisters sitting crossed leg in new clothes – and doing aarti. And then I scream with joy, “I am home. I am home on Diwali!”