Friday, October 20, 2006

Festival of Lights

Diwali, also called the 'Festival of Lights' is one of the most important Indian holidays of the year. It marks the triumph of good over evil and people celebrate it all over the world by joyously lighting lamps throughout their homes. In India, children enjoy setting off fireworks of every shape and form from sparklers to bottle rockets. While growing up, Diwali was one of Anuj's favorite times of the year. Perhaps it was because the festival's message of righteousness, renewal and passionate celebration fit so well with his outlook on life.

Every year, a few days before the big day, he would excitedly join Neal in selecting the loudest and brightest fireworks from a stand near Dad's office. The two of them would then carefully plan out how the Diwali light and sound show would unfold. On the day itself Anuj would always be the first to volunteer to set up candles, clay lamps (or diyas) and other forms of light throughout the Mohan household. He would even climb up on the ledge around the perimeter of the house to make sure it was properly lighted. Oh, how he enjoyed celebrating Diwali to its fullest!

Anuj lighting candles on the ledge of the Mohan family home. Lucknow, India. Fall 1993.

Finally after a big dinner, the fireworks show would start. Anuj particularly liked the large bottle rockets. They created the most dazzling and far-reaching display. Sometimes defective ones would explode without launching and he would come very close to getting seriously injured. But Anuj didn't care. He was too caught up in the excitement of creating a spectacular sequence of lights in the night sky . Often he would carry firecrackers in his pocket until he found a suitable place to set them off despite Mom and Dad's repeated reminders about how dangerous that was. Anuj and Neal would spend many carefree hours putting on a show while little Kapil watched from a distance.

This weekend is Diwali. It will of course never be the same.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
Without a doubt it was your favorite time of the year. Every year around this time you would become a child again and your face would be full of joy and excitement. You use to love lighting up the whole house with diyas and candles. And even today, when you are not with us, you are lighting up the whole world with the brilliance of the memories we shared with you as well the shinning star in the sky that I would always consider you to be.

-Kapil

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I got up this DIWALI morning, It was little chilly. I open the closet , to grasp my sweater.
All of a sudden I heard a sweat & mild voice, that was a Alarm of our beloved Anuj's Wrist Watch & I thought of Anuj. My eyes began tearing up, as if Anuj is saying mom............It was as if his presence was there right at that very moment.
While I am sad, I felt Anuj's presence this DIWALI morning & it was so powerful, I just can't explain the feeling in words. To me this day of DIWALI, he was my ANGEL.
We all miss him dearly.
mom

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Neal and Family,
Thank you for posting such a beautiful and heartwarming memory of our beloved Anuj. Although it was heartbreaking to read, it brought a smile to my face imagining our dear Anuj in such delight. He enjoyed everything with such an honest, loving heart. As we remember our beloved Anuj on this Diwali it is with heavy hearts; but as dear Kapil so beautifully said, we know he is watching over us with such peace and love. You are right though, Diwali will never ever be the same. Nothing will ever be the same without our dearest Anuj.

With much love to you all,
Ruby

11:51 AM  
Blogger Meena said...

It is just like Anuj to like the large bottle rockets. I think even then he did whatever it took to get the goal accomplished, even if it meant risking his own well-being. He has always been one to put others first. This photograph shows Anuj taking such great pleasure and pride in decorating the outside of the home for Diwali. He went for the largest fireworks lighting up the sky; even today he lights up the sky with his love for all. Diwali has new meaning for us today and always.

love,
Meena

10:15 PM  

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