Pune plays home to almost every culture and tradition that makes the essence of India and it is these days of festivity that live on as fond memories over the years…
For those who have shared their joy and sorrow with this city, Diwali holds a special place in their heart with fond memories of lovely times spent with family and friends…
Settled in the city from time immemorial, the Bathija family reminisces of the days when Diwali was about getting ready, eating, praying and roaming on the streets.
“There were no card parties or pre-post Diwali nights, concerts etc. Everything was so subtle and unique. It was about meeting family, staying together, listening to the stories of the senior members of the family and eating a lot!
But today, everything has completely changed. The vibe, atmosphere, surroundings, culture, people; everything…
“The entire meaning of the festival has changed, children now prefer going to the high society parties, throw money on useless mediums of entertainment and get wasted,” shares Brijesh Bathija, (68).
Rahul Kumar’s, (39) first Diwali in Pune got him the love of his life. Reminiscing, he shares, “I was here to celebrate Diwali at my sister’s place. It was my first time in Pune.
I met Meghna (his current wife) at the community hall of the society. It was a casual meeting with my sister’s friend, but it was something!” he giggles.
“At first I found him cold an arrogant” said Meghna Kumar, (37), “It was my first Diwali away from my home town,” interrupted Rahul.
“Two months later I got a call from him saying that he wants to know about some of the colleges in the city as he was planning to study here. A casual but planned conversation lead us to marrying each other exactly on the same day, we first spoke on call. That Diwali was the best one and we always have stories to share in nostalgia,” gleams Meghna.
“I remember those chill Diwali nights in camp where we used to gather at the Gurudwara to light candles and listen to the special prayer proceedings and then going to our favourite ice-cream parlour and eating malai kulfi.
Come the night and we lit a bonfire in the backyard, listened to music and ate a lot of food…
This has now become a tradition and even my grand kids love going out at night and eating for as long as they can. It’s only the family and number of vehicle that has increased, nothing else has changed about Diwali for us,” laughs Pritpal Singh Sokhi, (64).
“I love the inclusiveness and the warm vibes the city exudes,” shares Kwama from Guinea. “I admired the people decorating their houses, bursting crackers and creating the intricate designs on the floor, yet, I kept away like most of us outsiders do…
It was a lady from our building who was generous enough to invite us to her house for the celebrations. She even gave me her saree for the occasion.
I was delighted to be a part of the community and permitted to be at the collective ‘puja’ of the society. My family back home were touched to see such hospitality and generosity. This is what I cherish of the city, till today,” Kwama adds.
Deepa Jain, (32) believes, that even if one is not celebrating the festival, just being around family during the holidays is what matters.
“I have learnt it the hard way. Once I decide to celebrate it with friends in Bangalore, where I was living then. We had everything planned and decorated, had a lot of friends coming in too, but somewhere something was missing.
“A video chat with my parents reminded me of how hollow I felt celebrating Diwali away from Pune. That was the first and the last Diwali away from Pune. I connect with the city on an emotional level,” she smiles.
#All views expressed are those of the respondent’s and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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