The trip soon became an annual ritual- year after year, Grandpa and I would set off to the market on the eve of Diwali, with the day’s Hindu for company. While I mentally conjured a shopping list of sorts, Grandpa spent much of the journey cavilling about the downward spiral the country was on. For its part, the Indian political establishment seldom let him down, with one scam or the other taking up much of The Hindu’s dull frontpage time and again.
On D-day, every kid in the neighbourhood gathered at the courtyard with his booty. There was a lot of pride at stake, with each kid vying for top spot in the race for arms. Once the fireworks began, though, there wasn’t a sound to be heard apart from the booms of Sivakasi-made gunpowder. For the next two hours, one hundred eyes looked up to the skies in unison admiring the spectacular barrage of rockets, aerial bombs and whatnot. The rigmarole of daily life somehow seemed to take a backseat for those two wonderful hours. Even Grandpa didn’t seem too worried about the future of Indian democracy any more.
The rockets will light up the Bangalore sky once again tonight. For the twelfth successive Diwali, I will be elsewhere.