This article has been written by keeping Hindus in mind. However, as the culture and festivals around the globe are similar others too may feel connected to it.
Also this article is not a blog but rather my first attempt to write a story so please excuse my mistakes.
Pia was looking through her Mom’s mobile when the phone beeped “Mumma maasi ka message hai. Happy Diwali walli photo bheji hai (Mom aunt has sent a message. She has sent a photo with Diwali greetings). She got excited about the festival and started enquiring from her mom. Sunita had a tough and long day in office and was busy cooking Vegetable Biryania for dinner. She wiped the sweat off her forehead with her bare hand and started explaining “Pia remember on Dussehra day I told you about Lord Rama and how he fought with Ravana?” Pia nodded, “So this day, on Diwali, Lord Rama returns to his hometown Ayodhya along with his wife Sita Ji and his brother Laxman Ji. All the people in his hometown are very happy and they celebrate their victory by lighting up their houses, exchanging sweets and gifts and burning crackers.” “Mumma will I also get to burn crackers?” Sunita gave a side glance to her and then smiled “Ok but only with your Dad and do as he says otherwise you may get hurt” The 7 years old girl was all happy and cheered up. After sometime when the door bell rang she rushed to open the door “Daddy, you know we both will burn crackers this Diwali.” Rohan was working in corporate sector and used to come home late but always looked forward to see Pia at end of the day. Pia continued “And Daddy will you bring mithai (indian sweets) too?” Rohan smiled while sipping water. He asked Pia what else she has planned for Diwali. Pia thought for a while and said “I don’t know” grinning and showing her missing milk teeth.
Next day was exciting for Pia. Whenever she got free time she chatted with her friends about Diwali. Her school was also organizing “Diwali day” where they will decorate their classrooms and have some sports and cultural activities. At home when she was having dinner with her family she said “Daddy I know what else I will do for Diwali. My friends are making Rangoli. Mumma and me will also make Rangoli. And we will put lights outside our house. Daddy when will you put lights? Golu’s dad (neighbours) have already put lights. Daddy which lights we will put? I want red, green and yellow and they should also play music. Mumma which dress will I wear? Will you buy me a new dress?” Rohan, Sunita and Pia’s daadi (grandmother) all could see her excitement. They answered all her questions. Daadi also explained Pia another significance of Diwali “Pia beta Diwali is also about welcoming Ganesha Ji and Goddess Laxmi in our house. It is believed that this day Goddess Laxmi arrives at our house. So we clean our house and make rangoli to welcome them. We will also do prayers like last year. Do you remember?” Pia nodded doubtfully but she had something else in mind “Daadi can we see Goddess Laxmi? Tarla Mam said we cannot see God”. Daadi smiled “Ofcourse we cannot see God but it is believed that they come. Same like air. You cannot see air but it is still all around you” Pia smiled a bit relaxed.
Diwali day came. Pia was wearing a nice pink lace frock with small blue color flowers on it. Her hair were neatly tied in a pony. She was looking at other houses and their decoration from her balcony. Sunita and daadi were dressed up in beautiful sarees. Rohan came to the hall and started talking to Sunita “I think we should not burn crackers. We were discussing yesterday in office about air and noise pollution and it seems correct not to burn crackers.” Sunita argued “but Pia is so excited. How will you explain her? And moreover it is our tradition. It is not something which we do everyday”
“I will explain Pia. She got lights, rangoli, new dress. Plus we should also teach our kids to be responsible to our environment”
He called Pia from the balcony and tried to explain her. Pia understood but got upset “Dad we will never burn crackers? I told all my friends.”. She was almost in tears but Sunita sent her down to play with friends.
Sunita tried to put her point “Rohan I agree but I don’t think it is right to leave our traditions. These huge industrial wastes also cause pollution. Nobody stops them. You want to stop a small child. How much pollution can she cause in 1 night.” They argued for quite some time. Daadi was listening to all these things and seeing that they both are not reaching any conclusion interfered “Rohan and Sunita you both are correct. There is no harm in thinking about environment and your own child’s happiness. But you should always see what you are compromising to save other. It will be no harm if Pia burns few crackers, but few and eco-friendly crackers as many people suffer from breathing problems. We should teach our children that everything has a limit. But yes we are dirtying environment by even those few. So to compensate that guilt lets resolve to save the environment. Tomorrow morning plant a tree in the park outside. Minimize plastic use, do car pooling with your friends and save oil.” Sunita happily added “And lets avoid unnecessary paper usage. Let’s use hand blower instead of paper napkins. This way we will set a nice example for Pia also.” Rohan was not completely satisfied but looked it as an opportunity to save nature in turn.
Pia was delighted to hear that she will burn crackers finally. In evening whole family gathered for Diwali pooja. They clicked lots of pictures of Rangoli, Pia and Rangoli with Pia. She burst just few crackers as she was really scared by the noise. Mostly enjoyed watching fireworks in the sky. Next day they happily planted a tree which turned out to be another adventure for Pia. This was the best Diwali ever!