2013 – A metropolis. Dhanteras. Joyful wife Minu, grown daughter and Indravadan with his memories
Diwali – Festival of Lights, noise, enjoyment, traditions, something one remembers with fond and bitter memories when growing up.
The work began at least a month ago, with grandparent making the trip where ever you were, gathering snacks that had been specially made for everyone. Some of it would be just plain flour and half made stuff, that was never available of that quality in your city according to them. The best time ever. Marred only by the rigid, unexplained rules by the parents:
# When to sleep, get up, bathe
# What clothes to be worn, when, how
# What to eat, when, why
# Whom to visit, when, why
And then one fine day Indravadan grew up, chaffing at the bit, because he had started working, the bonus was burning a hole in his pocket, felt as an adult that he wanted to spend some time with friends, doing what you wanted to. But, the traditions that seemed to pop out – you had to do this because you had lost your grandparents; you had to follow this because you were elder; you had to follow something because the fiancee had come for the first Diwali and then it was the first Diwali after marriage and then couple of years later a child was expected….rules followed you, because you felt bound to listen to them, follow them because as a first born it was expected!
Inder moved out, for a few years enjoyed Diwali the way he always wished to. Making plans with Minu and the young daughter, there was very little money, some mithai, crackers to keep the young one happy, the car to drive for long, different South Indian food all 3-4 days – because the little one demanded – late night ice cream treats. Then money flowed in a little better, the enjoyment became larger, Minu and the young one continued to dictate – the visits to buffet – Punjabi, Italian, Chinese happened. The young one wise beyond her years gave up crackers because she learnt why not at school. Time is a great healer or a reminder.
Suddenly one decision that was forced on Indravadan, with Minu as an equal party as the eldest and traditions demanded. Rules followed the decision. He wanted to rebel, spouse played peace maker. And it began all over – always stressed out when the festivals came close by, irritable with the rules and more being added on – just because some relatives felt so or it was read somewhere.
The small puja, meeting and enjoying with loved ones had new rules, which seemed to be added on to the old traditions, for no rhyme or reason. And it did not matter, if the times were bad or good, there were somethings that had to be done and exactly according to the way it should be.
Time passed, the child grew started working, as did Minu, but the ‘Traditions’ seemed to gain momentum and continued to make demands, all the time emotional blackmail, where Minu kept playing peace maker.
Stress, irritation that came out in small and large measures on the wife and daughter, where the daughter grown and earning had questions that had no logical answers hence leading to more vague and everyone disappearing to their own place of comfort, waiting for the other to calm down or come back.
It is at this time in LIfe, that Indravadan, know well that many suffer the same, but starts questioning God, his lessons, the need for traditions and follow blindly. Where, where would all this end?
Would the daughter be strong enough? But then she would require his support and does he still have it in him, or he has been broken enough and looks at an end? Will the end release everyone? or lead to more rules, traditions to be introduced. And the main question What should be the end? How should it all end?