It’s Deepavali today. The first day of it. There’s usually that lot of three days with the looming mystery of which of those three your company will choose to put on the holidays list. The approach when in school seemed better – it’d be the first and third always, Naraka Chaturdashi and then Balipadyami. The former was the main festival at home, the latter was the main festival in the city. The day in between didn’t see much activity. Of course all three evenings were noisy and cracker filled, but the first and the last days always won out. With the amount of fireworks we got, most would be done by Day 2, and we’d only watch with envy as people pulled out their main stuff on day 3, especially the ones who’d been completely silent the first 2 days.
It’s almost the 20th year now of going fireworks-free. I say almost as I am not entirely sure. I know there was some activity in ’95. Probably none ’96 onwards, although we did have a small cache left over for World Cup India-Pakistan matches. This year the company has been extra generous in awarding 2 days off – the Tuesday and the Wednesday. Considering the amount I telecommute, it does not feel too odd. I think I’ve gone into a cosy weekend routine which extends itself comfortably over any weekday holidays. Or in other words, am growing old.
It helps that it has been raining heavily the past 2 days. A large part of me wishes that it continues into tomorrow. Nothing like a cold gloomy, rainy day to just curl up under a blanket, and read and sleep, and read and sleep. Another good thing from it is that the crackers are pretty much on mute since morning. I wonder how much this is due to the weather, and how much to general awareness. I hope it’s the latter. I really hope! The time might really be coming, especially when people see and experience the consequences, like sick children.
The sad part is that after these two holidays, the next is faraway Christmas. I usually keep a lot of leaves around to take off during those days. It makes for some good quiet time at home. Except that one or the other neighbour decides that it’d be a good idea to pull out the flooring on his terrace and get new stuff on, and while at it, pretty much pull out the flooring wherever he can see. And then the New Year which announces itself with a bang and a holiday. I hate that the New Year is a holiday. Of the 10 or 11 you get for the year, it kinda hurts to lose one right at the start!
And then you’re left staring at the whole year. Your leaves for the year – taken. Your festive season – over. A birthday to remind you of another year to add – looming. All you’ve wanted to do – still pretty much all you want to do. It’s not for no reason that January is the most depressing month. Also, there is Blue Monday which is the third Monday of January which is supposed to be the most depressing day. I can vouch for that in India too, especially given that Sankranthi does not get a holiday. And we have to wait for Republic day to give temporary solace before the inevitable march for the rest of the year begins.
This is where I miss school. You never cared much about Year-ends. They had holidays for Christmas, but when you got back you saw the year backwards, looking over the shoulder at everything that happened through the second half of the year and the focus was more towards getting past the next two months, and then on to the summer holidays. June was the month to dread. It didn’t help that it would start raining at the same time. But I guess “depressed” wasn’t the word you used; you used to hate it, but you got over it as the routine started. There’d be new things, newer teachers, newer things to learn. It wasn’t the same routine to go back to.
I think I might be doing what Amma loves doing most – dragging events from far off, analysing and then agonising over them. I shouldn’t be thinking of January. The best part of the holidays etc are still ahead of me! Or maybe, another approach would be to plan things year round, have things to do around the year – like vacations etc. I guess in some ways we always do that – these are some of the tools we use to survive the years. But the year-end brings its own sense of poignancy. And that’s what I have been harping about.
But then, there’s still the rest of the 2 days off that still lies ahead. I guess I’ll go and have a nice nap. After all, when I look back some 10 years on, these naps are what I’ll remember most. But of course, it’s a different question about doing things for the sake of looking back 10 years on and appreciating it.