There are many festivals in India, some are specific to a region, some specific to a community etc. Different people celebrate different festivals with varying degrees of enthusiasm and pomp. But there are a few festivals that are celebrated throughout India and the most important among them is Diwali, the festival of lights.

There are different mythologies associated with Diwali in North India and South India. However, the importance of the day is constant. One group celebrates the day as the return of Lord Rama back to Ayodhya after his victory over Ravana and his subsequent coronation. To another group, it marks the defeat of the evil king Narakasura at the hands of Satyabhama. Anyway, I am not here to give mythology lessons on Diwali. I just want to reminisce fond memories from my childhood.

The day before Diwali, it is a tradition to wake up before sunrise, have a bath and get ready for puja. We all gathered at our grandparents’ house for the aarti to pray for our siblings. It was also a time to collect gifts from them. As children, this was the best part that we all waited for, The Gifts. Next all of us cousins could pool our money and buy extra crackers for the evening and start bursting them. On the day of Diwali, since my grandfather and my uncles are all architects, we did special pujas at the office and then started to burst crackers. This is where all the fun happened.

I remember that I was a wuss when it was time to burst noisy crackers. I just enjoyed the sparklers and flower pots. The minute anyone lit up Laxmi bombs or rockets, I would run and hide behind the next tallest person. I had to bear the brunt of ridicule from my cousin’s for it. But we forgot all about it when we saw the bright colours light up the sky. Though it has been a few years since we consciously stopped bursting crackers, we spend that time on our terrace safely watching the fireworks at others house.

Here are some snaps of Diwali this year: