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Diwali - We Love the Complexity (Article Published in TOI Jammu)

Many of us may not have seen those days and some might even find it hard to believe that those days existed. But, yes, there was a time when light strings were hardly used. A lot more candles and diyas were used instead. Decorations consisted of a simple rangoli made of rice paste, a “Happy Diwali” sign cut out of card board, and paper lanterns crafted at home.  And even sweets were made at home. Diwali must have meant a lot more hard work back then.
Things have changed over the years. Instead of candles and diyas that burn themselves out, twinkling light strings are used. Gone are the hassles of refilling the oil and replacing the candles, you can simply turn the switch on and sleep peacefully. Your house will not become any less attractive to Goddess Lakshmi while you dream. Special Rangoli colours are available to counter the hassles of preparing a rice paste and then getting a simple mono-coloured Rangoli at the end. Decorations of various types and sizes are so easily available in the market that you don’t have to strain your hands or brains to craft intricate designs. Exquisitely packed boxes of chocolates and specific Diwali gifts abound in the market and even online. You simply have to select and get it delivered to your friends and loved ones. You don’t even need to step out of the house to do any of these things.
But we still do step out. We explore and select the best quality light strings and the most beautiful decorations. We taste and smell chocolates before getting them packed.  We don’t want to make a bad choice and end up being disappointed or worse still end up disappointing our loved ones. We navigate through the festival traffic to deliver gifts to our family and friends because we can’t bear to get them delivered through the emotionless local courier.
So have the Diwali preparations actually become any easier? No! And mostly because we don’t want them to. There’s a certain charm in putting in all the efforts and doing all the tasks with the entire family in the old-fashioned way.   No other festival brings us together like Diwali does. Some things should never change.