Ah, Diwali! So, obviously, missing a chance to write about Diwali would be blasphemy. What about Diwali, you ask? Well, this is one festival that has both Wi-Fi and international calling — a bit better than the others, if you ask me. Even from up here in Canada, where the closest
you get to firecrackers is seeing random sparkly things which always appear in strangely far-off distances (seriously, has anyone ever been near one of those?), I can get whiffs of the impending “military raid” that’ll befall my home soon.
That was the case in 2010, when I was lucky enough to be present at one of these battles. There I
was, chilling with my friends, passing a bottle of soda around and pretending it was beer – when
an explosion the likes of Bulbasaur’s solar beam goes off nearby. I’d be surprised by this, if it
hadn’t been going on for the last three hours already. One can get used to it, if one sits through
it long enough. And holding up a conversation was a downright delight over the sound of what
appeared to be D-Day, chocolate bomb style.
Of course, all the war references are horribly inaccurate, since no one actually throws explosive
chocolate at each other (that idiocy has thankfully left our society unscathed). However, I do
remember someone lighting one while holding it in his mouth, and waiting till the last possible
second, and – you know. Teenagers.
So, anyway; remembering that, I look at the Diwali here, and I see before me the following:
Sweets from somewhere in Hurontario (it’s always Hurontario); tiny candles lined precariously
along the balcony walls, like little Marilyn Monroes in the chilly breeze; the fancy LEDs hanging
out like freshly washed laundry… what else? Oh, yeah – no firecrackers.
This really isn’t something to complain about, I know; what can you do in a place like Canada,
where cooking with any spice more flavorful than boiled chicken skin sets off the smoke alarm?
Chocolate bombs here are… really, really out of the question. But that still kills the mood when I
see pictures on Facebook of literally acres of nothing but sparkly fire and spinning thingamajigs,
coloured showers rising like little volcanoes, rockets going off every five seconds – hell, I
even miss the freaking chocolate bombs. I’d give anything to have my eardrum taken to near
extinction while trying to talk to a friend, just one more time.
Good news is, we’re at least getting the basic firecrackers this year. Balcony Diwali, it is. Hey,
you can’t have everything, but you can love what you have, right?
(Aneesh Chatterjee is a grade 11 student who is spending his third Diwali in Canada and
missing Indian Diwali very much.)
(Published in Asian Connections Newspaper, Toronto, Canada, November 9, 2012 (Read it here))