Fairy lights strung haphazardly across balcony edges, my bland veranda overlooks a spirited celebration of families coming together, laughter, happiness, and a cheer lingering in the air that I just could not feel.
As I sit alone in my fancy, empty apartment, I recall all the times I fixed the same fairy lights back home, fused bulbs, and burned candles. It was loud and chaotic at all times, doorbell always going off strangers always leaving sandals at the entrance, and small-talk lighting up the tiny living room.
As if it were confetti, the hard shells of cashews and peanuts littered the floor and I collected them with a scoop of the hand, very excitedly. It was truly my favourite time of the year, feeling that little chill on my shoulder as glazed summers turned into frosty winters. But not yet. We weren’t there yet. And that was my sweet spot.
Today, I take a long deep breath for two reasons: one, to get a whiff of the fire from candles that keeps the festive spirit alive with a burning passion; and two, a craving for delicious home-cooked meals and sweets that I think of the rest of the year.
But I got none of that.
This year, work was hectic and I couldn’t find the time to make it back home. Deep down I know it upset my family, but they put up a brave front for my sake – work always comes first.
I sigh, watching the other lit-up houses and hushed tones of loud screams echoing through their soundproof windows, hoping that was me.
I fell asleep to this sweet sound, hoping I would wake up to home, and open my eyes to a world I once knew so well.
In a daze, it all seemed too hazy. It felt like I had been asleep for years, but at the same time, it felt like I hadn’t slept at all.
The dreams of a chattering family, fragrant food, and loud laughter threatened to get me out of my stupor, but I didn’t dare open my eyes. The dream was sweeter than reality for now.
The laughing got louder and the smell of the food got tastier. For someone who was so alert, this dream sure was intense.
Until it wasn’t.
In a panic, I opened my eyes and sat up on the bed.
And there it was: my dream come to life.
I couldn’t make it back home, so they brought home to me.
Standing there, they embodied the very spirit of Diwali without even realizing it; the spirit of a sweet gesture, loud and boisterous families we can’t go without, and love. An abundance of love.
And that was when I knew it was all going to be okay.
(Picture credits: Pexels)
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