I sat at the window watching everything getting wet outside. All were getting excited in their home. Two days later there is Diwali. Everyone is jollying around, talking about how to celebrate this big functions, how many guests will arrive, how to prepare all the most delicious sweets in the world. Girls are worried about how they will look prettier than all in their new dresses. Children, for the rarest time, are waiting for rain to stop and sun to come. These days their attention from paper boat is diverted towards the fireworks. They are worried when sun will rise to verve and they will sun-dry the fireworks so it catches the fire with no delay. Elders are busy in preparing for puja. After all this is Lakhsmi Puja. They can’t miss this.
I miss home a lot these days. In our home, we all together used to celebrate with much grandeur, fun and merriment. This was an occasion which used to come balancing spirituality and enjoyment too. If I were married to someone my parents wanted, I would be enjoying it too. This is my first Diwali that I am not celebrating. I don’t know how to do it alone. I miss sitting in puja, praying for the whole family. After marrying Asad, we were both disowned from our respective family. They didn’t allow us our inter-religion marriage. But there was no way out then. I didn’t want to hurt anyone neither Asad did. But we couldn’t live without each other. I tried to make everyone understand at home that Asad is a very good boy. In fact I told them that they can put us into test. If they find anyone who can understand me better than Asad, love me better than Asad and respect them better than Asad, then I would do as they wish., But they rudely denied and protested with great agitation. Finally we had to leave home and marry alone.
I am very happy with Asad. Even if I pray at God for seven lives then also I can’t get anyone better. But we both miss our family very much. Everyday we pray that they accept us. The doorbell interrupted my line of thoughts. It must be Asad returning from office.
I opened the door and saw Asad was there with a big box wrapped in gift paper hiding his face.
“GIFT..” I shouted in happiness.
“Ssshhh..stop shouting. “ He smiled at me and took me inside but didn’t give me the gift.
“For me?” I asked him indicating the box.
“hmhmhmhm..no.” He always take amuse in playing with me.
I made a face. “Then for whom?”
“Oh..my baby..don’t make a face. I quit. For you.”
“Heyyy..”I went to take the gift but he shifted from hand to hand in air.
“No. There is a condition. You have to guess what’s in there. Then only I will give it.”
“Okay..” I tried to start my thought engine. “Hmm..sari..?”
I slowly tapped a finger on lip guessing about what he could give me while he lied on the couch.
“Come one Asad. Stop playing with me now.” I said and with a sudden lurch, took that box away and ran from there.
I heard Asad shouting from behind. “That’s not fair Amita. That’s cheating you know.”
I settled myself on the dining table and opened the box.
As the box was duly disrobed, I found a shining box which read “SAMPOORNA LAKSHMI POOJA PACK”.
Asad wheeled next to me untying his tie. I turned to him with a quiz in my eyes.
“Open it.” He said.
I opened it. There was a plastic case and in that there were all the puja items like were beautifully aligned. “Wow.” There unwrapped them one by one. There were thirty four items in total, all labeled starting from haldi, kumkum to two idols of Lord Ganesh and Godess Lakshmi.
“I overheard some colleague in office about it. They were talking about Diwali. I knew how much you missed it. So I thought it would be great if we could do the puja here. This is all in one pack with all the manuals and guidelines to perform the puja yourself.”
I turned around and gave him a big breath-choking hug. He kissed top of my head. He knew it well that I missed home for puja and no priest would agree to come to our house. They think by stepping into our house, their religious good deed will transfer into sin. How silly they are! And how thoughtful my love is!
After two days, on the eve of Diwali I opened the pack again and read the guidelines carefully. I cleaned the place of puja at first and placed the both idols of Lakshmi and Ganeshji as Lakshmi puja is incomplete without worshipping Vighna Vinashaka Lord Ganesh. I lit two deepams and the cup of sambrani, provided in the pack only. Then I decorated the place as instructed in the pack while Asad helped me in putting the rangoli. He was very good at it, filling colors around it with excitement.
Asad tied the kankana around my right wrist. We sat together directing our attention towards the divinity. We took askshat with little water and put it down and chanted as instructed.
Mama Alakshmi Nivarana Dwara Aayur Aarogya, Aishwaryabhi Vridhyartham
Shree Mahalakshmi Poojaaradhanam Karishye
Shree Mahalakshmi Poojaaradhanam Karishye
Then we prayed to Lord Ganesh to make the puja obstacle free.
Aadau Nirvighnata Sidhyartham, Ganapathy Poojam Karishye.
We chanted it along with Ganesh mantra. And later followed by as the audio cd told us. Though it was hard for Asad to pronounce the Sanskrit words, but he kept with me. And as the illustration was in English, it made us easier to understand everything clearly.
To be true it was the best puja of my life. Now I could see how much the priests were cheating us hurrying in the puja. We both prayed for the same thing that we get accepted by both of our parents as our life meant nothing without them. Our puja was completed hassle-free with blessing of Godess Lakshmi and God Ganesh.
Later that evening we took Prasad, ate together and spent the night watching the firerworks outside. I had the best Diwali of my life with my love.
PS: This is a fictional story. The post here is for entry for the contest in Cycle Pure Agarbathis. Here is the link to the contest www.PurePrayer.com