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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Edited by: Aahana Banerjee

Dear Divya,

It’s November, and it’s that time of the year again. You know what that means! It’s time for the pretty fairy lights at every street corner that adorn the windows of houses, the smell of fried snacks wafting through the air, the thrill of rushing to malls to buy new outfits, the strenuous yet enjoyable task of looking for matching jewellery, and the visits to your relatives’ houses to exchange sweets. Yes, it’s Diwali!

Diwali has always been your favourite festival. Since childhood, you’ve always enjoyed dressing up and watching your mother make all kinds of South Indian delicacies. Of course, you were never allowed to help at the time, lest you had an accident with the hot oil or somehow ended up gravely injuring yourself. However, that was never an issue — you were content sitting next to her and watching the meticulous process of making ‘tengulam’, ‘madras mixture’, and ‘besan ladoo.’ Using your Diwali vacations from school to go visit your relatives from different cities was something you always enjoyed. You loved packing suitcases with all your footwear and jewellery, and of course, not having to Diwali-clean your home was an added bonus. In particular, you loved going to Pune to visit your aunt and uncle who’d pamper and spoil you extensively. They’d take you and your sister out for food almost every day, buy you more clothes, and help you make rangoli outside their house. They never criticised your rangoli, no matter how shabby it was and were unembarrassed to display it outside their house. Strangely, they were always so proud of you.

The times, however, started changing. You grew up, became more mature, your parents grew older, and with it, their bodies became weaker. Your sister grew up even more, developed a set of her own ambitions, took fate into her own hands, and started to write her own story. You even moved out of the only home you’d known your entire life to a much bigger, better, prettier house. You eventually learnt to start calling it your home too. Drastic life alterations took place, your family went through a series of tragedies but somehow, you managed to pull through. Somewhere in the midst of it, your eagerness to plan and buy Diwali outfits subdued. Maybe you started to look at it as a chore. You stopped going to malls, finding Myntra to be much easier. Your parents started outsourcing some of the Diwali snacks, they didn’t have the energy to sit and make them from scratch at home and you didn’t have the time. Your aunt and uncle grew older too, had their fair share of health scares, and the yearly Pune trips began to dwindle down to once every 18 months. 

However, soon, you also left for University, moved out of your house and lived far away from home in dorm rooms, surrounded by friends. Slowly, you started making your own traditions. ‘Tengulam’, ‘Besan ladoo’ and ‘Madras mixture’ got replaced by banana bread, brownies, and cheese pies. Online shopping by yourself for Diwali outfits turned into anticipated events of having all your friends over in your room, helping you and planning coordinated outfits. You would facetime your parents, aunt and uncle at every opportunity you got, and on Diwalis you started sending them gifts and some ‘tengulams’ that you would randomly decide to make one day. You started sending pictures of your beautiful, perfectly shaped rangolis to your aunt & uncle. You began to host your friends over, and started throwing your own Diwali parties — ones where you got to write the rules. Ultimately, that’s all that time ended up changing for you really — it allowed you to start writing your own rules, making your own customs and traditions, and rewriting what Diwali means to you. 

Eventually, you realised that Diwali is not about clothes, food, and glamour, as much as it is about love, warmth, and happiness. The times, they are – a – changin, but you are changing as well. Don’t worry, you will catch up with the times eventually.

With love,

Divya.

A compulsive over-sharer and daydreamer, Divya (she/her) is a freshman at Ashoka University and a content creator at Her Campus. When not busy having an existential crisis every three days, she can be found dancing, cooking (read: eating) or giving herself impulsive curtain bangs on random Tuesdays
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