A couple of somewhat different stories around Diwali and also a chance to blog after another round of hibernation:
There was this uncle who hated kids all year round. He would shoo us all away like we were flies. But only on Diwali every year, he would be a transformed man. It appeared as if he was committed to enjoying Diwali irrespective of what happened around him. He would be the first one to wish all the confused kids Happy Diwali. He and I even had a secret contest and I use the term ‘secret’ here only because the rules of the game were never discussed in public. Coming to think about it, there was in fact only 1 rule that decided the winner. And all that the winner won as a trophy was the license to sport a condescending look and experience the thrill of the loser’s agony. It was divine pleasure whenever I won … and whenever I lost, it resulted in about 15 minutes of extreme anguish and regret that I hadn’t woken up earlier. By the way the contest was about who came first in the race to burst crackers after finishing the “Ganga snanam” or oil bath. Alarms would go off at 330 am and before the crack of dawn, it was considered auspicious to create a ruckus in the name of Diwali. I would get the feeling that I was the first or at the most second in the entire city of Calcutta to kick start the decibel revolution that comes as a package deal with Diwali celebrations. Of course, as a 4-5 year old, I remember thinking that the world was made up of Calcutta, Madras and some smaller cities like Bombay, Delhi, Dubai and America. So, it was a super hero feeling that I am talking about when I say that I was the first to burst a cracker in the Big Bad City of Calcutta. I was the One who would ‘AWAKEN’ the city …
Years have rolled by and circumstances have changed so much that I am wondering if I just wrote about myself … memories remain and wherever that Uncle is, I am hoping that he had a great Diwali!
Enter Hostel life. The wild B-school days …
In the Mahabharata we have read about Yudhisthra losing everything, including his wife and brothers, thanks to Shakuni’s googlies and doosras. It was supposed to be an indication of how bad gambling can be. It could have such ugly side effects for even someone like Yudhishtra. He was generally considered an ideal first bencher: a very goody goody boy / man all through his life. I was also introduced to some stories of how Diwali witnesses gambling sessions and that in select parts of our country, there are instances where people have gone from one end of the financial status spectrum to the opposite end in a matter of minutes. Most outrageous stories are of course the ones where Mr. ABC gambled his ancestral home or family business etc. The influence of alcohol plays an important role in determining the proceedings, I hear. Such stories were so different from the Diwali experience of getting up only to burst crackers, don the annual quota of new clothes and of course eat …
One of the hostel Diwalis gave me an opportunity to learn and actually gamble on Diwali night. We do learn management fundaes well at B school, because I remember that the day after Diwali was when our exams were starting. So we had to pack several items into the night’s schedule: gambling, partying, cracker bursting, some institute level celebration at the famous IIML concrete lawns and of course studying for exams after all the day’s hard work. Maybe I was too tired to do everything and let go of the last work item because that still meant I completed 90-95% of my target tasks. But when did anybody ever care about such details?
So here is a great Happy Diwali to all my IIM L friends and especially those close ones who have forgotten that I still exist, those who are busy in their own worlds and those who are always part of my private world … hmm, now I sound like I got inspired by that ‘har friend zaroori hain yaar’ Airtel ad.
More stories some other time …. Paattu class Diwali evenings, Pittsburgh pot luck party, Bangalore get together with family and another diametrically opposite get together with friends the same evening …. And yes, the Trivandrum Diwali where I ended up seeing a Mallu movie that was actually a super mega tragedy about a fisherman’s family because other room mates had gone to their respective homes … I am looking forward to penning the Diwali special memories down soon. Until then, bye!