Blogging, Blogtrain, Festive season, Fiction, India, Story-telling, Writing

The Diwali Diyas

“When you said emergency, this isn’t where I expected to find you.” Avnish said exasperatedly as he shifted uneasily and got his laptop bag off him. His unruly hair mirrored his state of mind; confused and all over the place. Renu pretended not to hear him and uninterruptedly continued revering the diamond necklace adorning her beautiful neck. At 40, youthful and elegantly groomed, she could easily give any 20-something a run for their money. Avnish, in contrast, with his greying hair and ample waist looked older for his 43 years. Right now, the bags under his eyes looked even more pronounced. Had she managed to catch him off-guard or was he vain enough to forget about their impending Diwali shopping? Couldn’t she be more specific on the phone?

As Avnish settled in a chair next to her people around them threw furtive glances at him. They must be wondering whether I’m really with this queen, he thought to himself. Renu, however, seemed oblivious to anyone else’s presence. She was a woman on a mission. Only with this gorgeous trinket would she shine brighter than all the Diwali diyas in her neighbourhood. Why was Avnish being so irksome though? So she said she was at the hospital in front of this jewellery store and asked him to rush at once. Would he take time off and join her for shopping otherwise? Fine, he had been at work but was here now, couldn’t they just get on with it?

The Diwali Diyas_avibrantpalette

Having no easy way to say it, Avnish whispered, “Renu, I transferred my bonus to Mom this morning. Dad needs urgent bypass surgery and she was crying incessantly over the phone that she couldn’t arrange the money. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier. I wasn’t expecting this. We can’t afford the necklace right now. Can we please leave?” Her expression changed from excited to hurt within moments but anger was what she really felt. Her eyes burnt through him even as the salesgirl looked on quizzically. Without uttering a word she removed the necklace and walked away, not giving it, him or anyone a second glance.

She furiously stomped on the footpath and was instantly surrounded by a group of children, muddy and dressed in tatters. Wary but cornered no less; she reached for some change in her purse to get rid of them. She was about to toss a few coins at them when the oldest one of about 8, said out loud, “Madam, hum bhikari nahi hain. Diya le lo humse.” He pointed at his mother sitting on the roadside with a baby sucking at her bosom. Colourful Diwali diyas were laid out in front of her. She hopefully eyed Renu and signalled her to get a closer look at them.

Renu moved hypnotically and her anger seemed to dissolve with every step she took in her direction. The lady wore a torn sari with several off-colour patches. Her bony frame made Renu wonder about the nourishment the kid was getting from her. Her face was grimy but her features were sharp, pretty even. She seemed strangely content. Renu couldn’t help notice a thread with black beads around her neck. “Kya wo mangalsutra hai?” she asked hesitantly as she got closer. She smiled and said, “Jitna bacha hai. Baaki sona to gaya, Madam. Bech diya pati ke ilaaj ke liye. Diye le lo na. Diwali pe ghar mein sajenge.”

Avnish had rushed to Renu’s side by then and was surprised to see his elitist wife talking to a roadside vendor. Later, Renu left with some diyas and Avnish walked next to her for a while before blurting out in zest, “I see the festival of lights has lit up your mind too!” Renu gave him an icy stare while suppressing a smile.

Suddenly, the expensive diamond necklace from the store had seemed worthless to her. She would show it off to her friends and gloat about it but would she ever feel the same content this woman did with her thread of black beads? The ragged poor woman had unwittingly done the unthinkable. She had made Renu see within and beyond herself. By losing out on the necklace she had found herself!

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18 thoughts on “The Diwali Diyas

  1. Wow beautiful and Powerful message of the tale left me teary eyes Varsha! A small incident stimulated the real sense of realization of Renu. Which will definitely shift Renu’s perspective from the gloating world to the brighter and shiny one.

  2. Wow such a beautiful story and you have conveyed most important life lesson with this. yes, many of us think that materialistic pleasure is most important thing in life and chase around it whole time. but in reality, life is more about being content and satisficed with the things we already have. in story, you have narrated both characters so well, I get a perfect visualization by reading it.

  3. Your story made me nostalgic Varsha. It reminded me of my shopping days in India when I would make sure to buy Diyas from the roadside vendors. Somehow those innocent eyes of children selling the diya with a smile on their faces used to catch my attention. This may be a fiction story but it conveys a strong message. We find happiness in materialistic things but the true happiness lies within us.

  4. Wow, what a lovely story, and you’ve conveyed an important life lesson with it. Your story made me nostalgic, I am missing Diwali shopping In India … Sometimes life teaches us tough lessons in unexpected ways. Hope to read more stories from you✌

  5. That is a very beautiful story, with a powerful message. Our materialistic desire often turns us to the person we are not. Simple act of people, we dont pay much attention to, in daily life can teach us a lot.

  6. Beautiful story with a powerful message, narrated with such simplicity. During the festival of lights, we need to rise from our pettiness and see the world in all its beauty. Sometimes materialistic things may mean nothing. Sometimes the people who are poor have the most to offer. Thanks again for making my day!

  7. I have started to do my bit for the roadside vendors as I know how hard pandemic has been on them. Such a thought provoking article. I will try to get diyas this Diwali from these vendors for sure.

  8. That is such a beautifully written piece of content bolu ya story ya phir kuch logon ki zindagi ka sach. Loved reading it through your eyes and how indeed Diwali can light up the minds and hearts not just the surroundings.

  9. This is a nice piece of article on Diwali diyas . Diwali comes to lighten up our life with blessings and happiness. I always buy diyas from road side small vendors .

  10. Loved the story with a good message at the time of Diwali! While asking for something extravagant, we forget that there are people who can’t even afford a single meal a day. Only helping such people can make us feel satisfied.

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