Last Diwali was the first Diwali in the longest time when I didn't have an exam to prepare for. First it was school (along with Diwali vacation homework) and then it was Chartered Accountancy exams which would start the day after Diwali, almost always.
Last Diwali I was "relieved".
These post-Diwali exams were usually followed by depressing results in January (which would come after Uttarayan - like really, all the festivals of my life have been ruined by exams. Maybe I am not too fond of festivals because of these annoying exams).
Today, for the first time, I am happy.
I am happy about Diwali. I am not stressed about impending exams. (not that I had them last year, but last year I was not used to it - you see, I didn't know how a Diwali without exams felt like.)
This year, I am happy about the festivities. Even though I don't burst crackers myself (because childhood trauma of burning those snakes always led to throat infection and even now, the smoke has nicely started giving me headache already and really, bombs are stupid and I don't like them and I like the pretty stuff in the sky and I like diyas and I like rangolis.) I actually don't mind people around being happy.
I am okay with the smoke filling my lungs (I am almost sure I'm falling ill tomorrow) because you know what? Diwali comes just once a year.
And I am not moral policing about air pollution and all that, but really, if why not spread cheer instead of whining about things? People *WILL* burst crackers, let them.
Today, when I wished everyone who crossed my path a happy Diwali, there was a genuine smile on their face.
A smile I never saw before. Mostly because I wouldn't meet people and be holed up in my room studying (browsing internet).
Today, from neighbour uncle (who I can neither confirm nor deny being fond of) to the raddiwala (who addresses my mom as "mummy" - wtf) to watchmen at my office building (yes, working today) to my boss to the steward at Chocolate Room who took our orders to every person I met - I wished them all. I felt happy. (okay, even whatsapping the wishes to people and/or calling them also made me happy)
Because why not? How hard is it to smile and wish? How hard is it to spread the cheer? It really doesn't take too much of an effort.
So go ahead - wish the people you care about. Wish even those you don't care about. It doesn't hurt. :-)
Also, इस दिवाली फुलझरी बने, जलाएं नहीं।