For my second Diwali in India, I thought I would be alone. My only family here in India lives in Gujarat, and my parents weren’t arriving until just after Diwali. As good luck would have it, I received an email from a close cousin of mine in London who just happened to be passing through Mumbai for 24 hours that day.
So my Diwali was spent catching up with close family and showing them a bit of my life in India. My cousin had been to India many times before, but her time spent in Mumbai had always been as a tourist. So instead, I took her around the suburbs, and showed her my life here. We gossiped, shopped and caught up on the past couple of years, since we had last seen each other in London.
I introduced her to the fabulous ice cream at the Natural Icecream of Juhu Scheme (the tender coconut is my favourite), we had a drink at my local Bonobo and grabbed dinner at the Pali Village Cafe. We wandered through the fishing villages in Bandra and had photos taken with the statue of Shammi Kapoor on Bandra Bandstand.
It was a lovely way to spend Diwali.
In the evening, after my cousin had left, I went to a friend’s house for an “orphan’s” Diwali. She had kindly invited people who didn’t have family in Mumbai along for a pot-luck dinner and of course the obligatory aarti. I am not a religious person at all, but it was lovely to just take five minutes to say a prayer, light diyas and remember that it was a special day.
Whilst there wasn’t much traditional about my Diwali, it was a lovely day spent with great people, and a little family.