Home alone on Diwali, really?

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Home alone on Diwali, really?

Staying away from the family in a different city, especially during festivals, is not easy but many manage because professional commitments take precedence over personal ones. Though all through the year one remains busy commuting from home to office and back, it is during the festival time that most plan to go back to their hometown, to their loving families, light diyas, burn crackers and eat home-cooked food.

“Me and my brother used to help our mother in the kitchen. A night before Diwali we would bring out the machines to make besan ki seviyan in different shapes,” recalls 28-year old Yashwant Pratap Singh from his childhood days at his home in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.

Working as a marketing consultant in the Capital since the last seven years, Singh
has now become used to going home for Diwali every alternate year.

“In my field we cater to US clients and we can’t afford to take an off. Whenever I go back home during Diwali I make it a point to meet all my friends and their families, since they too come back from different parts of the country for the festival. But this time, I won’t be able to go,” he says with sadness creeping in his voice. The nostalgia and sadness lessens somewhat at the thought of celebrating the festival with friends here.

“Unfortunately, this time Diwali is in the middle of the week,” says Ayonav Bagchi, a 32-year old public relations officer who will also miss going home for Diwali and Kali
Puja (an important occasion for Bengalis).

“For those who have to travel outside Delhi, a two-day holiday means a four-day absence from office, since travelling time has to be included too.” And taking a four-day off in the festival season is not feasible for all. “I belong to Jamshedpur which is a cosmopolitan city. Whenever all my friends are at our hometown for Diwali, we pool in money to buy crackers. But since this year my wife and me will be in Delhi, we have planned a small tash-party (card) at our friends place.”

Likewise for 28-year old journalist Akansha Sharma who will be away from her home for the first time on the festival. “All trains to Kanpur are booked three months in advance, how could I have possibly got a seat for myself. And since it is almost the end of the month, it is difficult for me to splurge on air fare.” Left without an option she has decided to join in the robust celebrations in the city and experience how others, like her, celebrate Diwali away from their homes, with friends and colleagues.
   
Though they don’t have an option but to stay back, there are a few others who choose to do so purposely. “Otherwise I will miss all the fun and masti that Delhi offers,” says Ankush Kamal, a 26-year old HR professional hailing from Rohtak, Haryana.

“Even if I have to meet my family, I make sure that I return to Delhi before Diwali to gang up with friends and shop till the stocks last. On the day of the festival all my friends go out for dinner together after puja. Isn’t it fun?”  

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