Dilli Ki Diwali

Growing up, irrespective of how sick my mum was festivals, were huge. My brother’s passing has sucked the fun out of everything. Once in a while, we make a half hearted attempt to celebrate a festival and yet we seem to be stuck in limbo. ‘ If you would just get married or make some babies, it would change everything!’ I am told. ‘Char din ki chandni aur phir andheri raat!’ is my view. Thanks but no thanks!

The festival of light maybe a celebration of light over darkness but for some it can be a lonely experience. I wouldn’t be surprised, if in a few decades we begin to hear how the festivities have triggered depression and suicide amongst people, like Christmas does in the West.

With more and more people choosing to work away from their families, or choosing to remain single, how do you celebrate when everybody is busy with their loved ones? That’s what you have friends for and now you also have something else to do- go for Delhi Ki Diwali!

For the past five years (ever since…) one doesn’t know what to do with oneself and my Sufi group is kind enough to celebrate the evening with me. So while most people I know are busy doing Puja and playing cards, we roam around the streets of Delhi, looking for something to do. Khali sadke napte he aur kuch khaane ke liye dhondte he.

It’s damn difficult to find a restraunt that is open on Diwali, FYI. We head to any eatery which has a Muslim name and hog away to glory. To have them by my side is a blessing. As is the fabulous programme organised by AAP. Four days of festivities, where you can listen to fabulous music, watch a laser show in the middle of CP and that too free of cost!

For the first time, the celebrations were beyond anything I have experienced on Diwali. Thousands of people, came together to celebrate a festival not all of them, would normally. Foreigners were dressed up in Indian attire, women in hijabs roamed excitedly around with their families, while students from north east sat on the grass grooving to the music. The fabulousness of this country was on display, on the streets of Delhi that night and even if you were alone in that one moment, you would feel as if you belonged!

Fight or Flight

If you could go back in time and offer advice to your younger self what would it be? Sometimes I want to shake up my fourteen year old self and ask her not to fall in love at the drop of a hat. Convince her with the only logic she will understand, ‘ Ishq se bore ho jaygee baad mein’, hoping for the sake of my older self, it works.

Do you think people change? I think essentially, our core doesn’t change very much. Push comes to shove, we react quite predictably. Like in my case, the words ‘ I love you’ it turns out get the same reaction- anger or escapism, from the first time I heard it from a boy to last night.’Bloody ostrich’, SB yelled at SC, as she hastily gave back the box of jewellery she had been presented with and ran inside the house, as if she had seen a ghost. ‘I don’t want to hear this!’ is all she could muster the courage to say. SB is so much better at handling this. Her replies have ranged from, ‘Wow! What a revelation Bhangra pau?’ to ‘You think you’re getting in my pants by saying that?’. Before you decide to do a psych analysis of my lovely behaviour, spare me the 101 on commitment phobia, one’s taken enough of those classes and has miserably failed at them, as you can see.

The list of how obnoxious SB can be, is quite long and the man whose endured it the most, has been my dear Shets. One suspects, his sporadic phone calls, over the past ( almost) twenty years, to profess his love are purely for the entertainment value, SB brings to his life. He giggles in glee, as she responds. But he does have a sixth sense, I grant him that. Last night, as I was driven to my favourite spot in town and the volume of the music was turned up, he called. I suspect, in hindsight, this is where I was originally, supposed to be told. Thank the lord, the plan got spoilt. Someday, I have always hoped, some weirdo will paint the words, ‘ you’re mine you crazy bitch!’ at that spot, to which I will respond, ‘ let’s see how long you can keep me around, asshole!’ Which translates to let’s do it, in cuckoo land.

For now, SC will loose another friend at the altar of love and SB will continue to convince her she’s having the time of her life!

Let it go!

Got a call from a cousin in the afternoon, which I returned last night. Ufffff! It’s funny how we go on with our existence, jumping from one thing to another, in my case from one adventure to another, with our buffers intact, not sorting out all the emotional bullshit that needs to be sorted out. And then, it stares us again and again in our face, till we confront that demon or in my case look for another thing to escape, into.

‘ Darling, tu nahin toh koi aur sahee, koi aur nahin to koi aur sahee!’ sums up my entire dating life. So, why does it bother me sooo much? Why is it that one thing, that can STILL be used to push my buttons, why? Na, it’s not love, my dear, don’t mistake it for that. I do love obsessively, in an all consuming manner, but it’s in spurts for a short duration. The need of the damsel to be rescued (that has been the underlying theme off all my love stories), the subconscious need of the rebel to find to an anchor who appeals to everyone who finds her haywire, the need of the introvert to find the extrovert, the need of the bad for the good, the serious for the humorous, the stable for the unstable, the list goes on. It’s that, it’s just that and hope. Umeed pe duniya kaayam he jaaneman, feeling hopeless is painful, liberating but painful!

‘Get over it!’ they say. Trust me, I say it to myself all the time. ‘Get the fuck over it!’ SB yells at SC. Each year, I think I have till someone brings up his name and it feels like a dagger in my chest.

I go out on a few dates with the Bengali boy a couple of years ago and in turn, return with a tatoo on my arm. Anyone who knows me knows what those tats mean. It becomes quite apparent to me, that I ain’t ready, yet. ‘When the fat lady sings, I’ll get over it!’ SC reassures SB, with the same bs, she has been telling her ever since she laid eyes on the camel, fifteen years ago.

Five years later, the fat lady hasn’t sung, the lookout for the perfect woman is still on! In the meanwhile the father proposes one marry either of the two men, who turn up each time mum is in the hospital. Religion seems to matter to him less, each passing year. Good, younger men who are emotionally available and respectful, SB knows all of that is only because she’s the dominant personality, now (though one has stuck around through her worst phase). For now, nothing will happen, the rabbit keeps me company and the boys make really good friends. Plus, I no longer need rescuing and SC no longer looks at anyone with hope!