A Bittersweet Deepavali

Colorful wishes accumulate in my email inbox announcing Deepavali/Diwali. Friends and relatives call up at frequent intervals. Each wish is a sad reminder of the last time I spent this festival. My dad was alive. He wished K and I much happiness. I knew what he wanted for us. The week before the festival I spent it with my appa and amma. We had fun shopping and buying ‘bakshanam’ at Suswaad and Grand Sweets and Snacks. Appa was very keen that ‘maapilai’ go back to Bangalore with box loads of ‘bakshanam’. Little did any of us realize that a week later he was in the hospital battling for his life.

When people call, full of the festive spirit, I feel horrible to be the wet blanket. Yet I cannot bring myself to inject cheer in my wish. To me this year it is yet another day. One that reminds me of better times in the past. One full of memories of my Appa. Images of him devouring ‘deepavali marundhu’, of him applying ‘nalla yennai’ on my head, of giving out ‘pudhu thuni’ making us sit on the palagai swim in front of my now brimming eyes.

Appa I miss you way too much.

8 thoughts on “A Bittersweet Deepavali

  1. You know you should do the things he liked best and keep his spirit alive. It hurts, but he wouldnt want you “not” celebrating what he loved best. If possible, end your grief and celebrate the festival, I am sure he will be with you in spirit.

  2. Laksh, I agree with ul.And no, I don’t think grief can end in any sense…you would remember mama all your life. Small events might trigger more memories than other days…but he will always be with you and you would miss his physical presence, his smile, his eccentricities if he had any, his attitude…everything. But as ul said, you do what he liked and keep his spirit alive!

  3. Just an addition…you should be happy that you feature in your friends/family’s mind when they are sending out wishes 🙂

  4. I just read this post of yours. I know exactly how you feel. I lost my father too – it’s almost 3 years now. He passed away exactly 5 months before my wedding. It broke my heart that my parents wouldn’t give me away at the wedding. Ofcourse relatives being superstitious said i shouldn’t proceed with my wedding until after a year had passed. But the date and even exact times had been chosen by my father (he was an astrologer) and I knew in my heart he would have wanted me to.

    Like you, I remember all the “1st” events after he passed away – the 1st deepavali, my wedding, the birth of my child, my birthday (also my ponurukku day) – and no matter what anyone says, it never is the same without someone who means the world to you. The only way I got through these days and still do is by trying to be what he would have wanted me to be – happy.

    For me the grief never seems to end, I take each day as it comes and look to other people who have had it worse off than me and try my best to appreciate the days, the years I had with him.

    I hope for your heart to have some comfort too.

    P.S. It’s ok to be a wet blanket, only people who have been in the same situation would understand.

  5. @Bavani: I totally understand how you feel. My sis went through the same thing. K and I gave her away. Its never the same as amma appa doing it. On a different note, what is ponnuruku?

  6. I am of Sri Lankan tamil origin – my grandparents were born in Sri Lanka so I’m the 2nd generation born in Singapore. And my husband’s grandparents are of Indian origin. Anyway, I don’t know if you have a different name for this ceremony, but Ponnuruku for Sri Lankans is the ceremony in which the goldsmith comes to the house and melts a gold coin which will form part of the thali. To be honest, that’s the word my relatives use – I’m not even sure if it’s just their slang word.

  7. @Bavani: Nice to hear the tradition behind ponn-uruku. My mom says she has heard of it too. Makes sense ponn – gold and uruku – melt.

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