Zamaana badal gaya, as they say. Aur uske saath Diwali bhi.
Ab Diwali greetings ko le lo. Greeting cards have gone the Siberian Crane way - they're a rare sighting. Instead it's the Diwali SMS or now, MMS. Aur ismein bhi alag alag type ke log-baag hain.
a) Wholesale variety: These are the folks who message their entire phonebooks, coz after all they're on a 50 p per sms plan - may as well make use of it. Never mind if some of the recipients are clueless about who the hell the sender is...
b) Designer variety: Ordinary 'happy diwali' and 'best wishes for the new year' messages won't pass muster with this lot. They take extra time and effort to come up with something creative. Or, wait for someone else to - and then promptly forward it!
c) Reply-only variety: Yeh log khud message nahin bhejte but if they receive one, will take the trouble to reply. I fall in this category :)
d) Bhayaanak variety: "Happy Diwali. Have you filed your Income Tax Return for AY 05-06? If not pls file it by 31st Oct 05..." Yup, the I-T dept just discovered the joys of spamming!
Diwali - Then & Now
Other ways in which Diwali has changed for People Like Us...
* Then: Rui ki battiyan, mitti ke diye.
* Now: Wax waale bane banaye khareed liye.
* Then: Ghee waale laddoo-barfi-halwe khaane ke din.
* Now: Chocolate hampers, sugar-free mithai are in.
* Then: Atom bombs, 10,000 ki ladis were cool.
* Now: Anaars, chakris and phuljhadis rule.
* Then: Problem - is saal client ko kya gift bhejna hai
* Now: Solution - Hamari company mein ab gift lena manaa hai!
* Then: Saal mein ek baar bacchon ke kapde aate the
* Now: Ab to har hafte mall visit mein Diwali manaate hain
I'm not nostalgic about the old days - except for the home made samosas and gulabjamuns which sadly, are missing from the Diwali mithai ki plates that neighbours now exchange.
In every other way, now is an improvement on then. And yes, the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' remains. But there is more awareness - more efforts to contribute to charity. More than one yuppie couple I know has taken the trouble to make a donation of toys and sweets to an orphanage.
So things are different - but it's still Diwali
Until next year, wish you peace and khushhaali!