From cracker-bursting competitions and playing Hanuman to religiously maintaining the pooja tradition, Kunal Kapoor shares his festive feeling with Shubarna Mukerji Shu.
My most vivid memory of Diwali is actually of the entire family, friends and neighbours gathering in our house and my mother performing the Diwali Pooja. As kids, the most interesting bit was when that first diya was lit and we had to all take our own little lamps ready to decorate the house with hundreds of diyas. If you ask me what makes Diwali special, I’d say it’s these diyas.
The ways everyone’s house lights up during the festival… you look outside from the biggest houses to the smallest, everyone makes that effort and actually sets the mood for it. There are the sweets of course; I have the most excruciating sweet tooth in the world, so everything goes from Rasmalai to Gulab Jamuns to anything covered in chocolate! Like they say in my house, if it is sweet I will probably love it!
Since we have two wings in our society, we used to have these competitions between the A block and the B block…Various things from dance, to fancy dress and recitals etc based on the Ramayana. I vaguely remember winning but I am not sure what for really. I distinctly remember playing Hanuman once – I might have been the scrawniest Hanuman ever, so I am not sure that the prize I’d won was for that! Between you and me, from all the characters in Ramayana, I don’t know why Shakuni Mama seems to fascinate me the most. Of course, I am not a fan but he gets me thinking, why he was the way he was…
Today it is unfortunate that such activities are not so much a part of our lives. In fact, the last three Diwalis I have been out of town, working. I don’t know if today I would be as thrilled to be a part of something like a society competition, but hey, I am always game for a good fancy dress stint!
Jokes apart, of late my Diwalis have been spent on film sets, but even that has its own charm. After work everyone gathers, we do the pooja and then of course, get set to play cards!
It is my annual card game, because I am not too much into cards and they pretty much hate me. Believe me, I have never won in a card game! Thankfully, I am not making it a habit, so I lose only once a year at Diwali and somehow I don’t mind that much… There is so much excitement around the game and the festival, that it is nice to simply be a part of it. Given most of the traditions, over the years, have taken a backseat I do try to maintain the whole pooja and diya ritual… It is intrinsic for me; it is my idea of the festival.