India

Happy Diwali!

Diwali 2012_MG_2528November 12, 2012

We did not do Diwali right this year.

We rolled back into town last night a bit too late to go out and catch any of the festivities. I did not go out and buy the lights or the Rangoli kit I had hoped to or go take photos at all of the markets I wanted to.

Our teething and travel-worn toddler seemed desperately in need of a quiet day at home today, so this morning Chris slept in while Will restored our home to it’s natural state of disorder and chaos. For my part, I stayed in my pajamas and helped make blueberry pancakes. Afterwards we taught will how to rock out to Journey.

In the afternoon, after Will’s nap, we headed over to Nehru park to meet some neighbors and friends for a late afternoon walk. The evening light was beautiful as we walked through fields of flowers and side-stepped dozens of couples making out on park benches and men trying to sell us bags of chips and bottled water. India may be an incredibly conservative country when it comes to all manners dealing with sex, but something about public park benches and historic ruins seems to bring out the amorous in the most seemingly chaste of couples.

Diwali 2012_MG_2461November 12, 2012

Diwali 2012_MG_2499November 12, 2012
The top of the stone pyramid on which Will and Chris are standing was actually about 15 feet high. We kept trying to convince Will to crawl up on one of the shorter ones nearby but he would have none of it.

While I would have loved to drive around town all day checking out the markets and the holiday hustle and bustle, Will was certainly happier that we stayed home. And after he went to bed, I did slip out the front door with my camera and run down the street to find out where all of the fireworks were coming from.

Diwali 2012_MG_2521November 12, 2012

Everywhere, as it turns out. They were coming from everywhere. A large extended family was shooting off fireworks in the street opposite the high compound wall in front of our house. Around the corner, a few kids were lighting fireworks in an empty can and kicking embers into passing cars. I followed a trail of lights down another street towards the mini slum next to the school and watched as hundreds of kids-many underdressed in the cool night air-giddily threw round after round of cheap fireworks onto the ground and watched them explode. I stayed for a few minutes just taking in the scene until a few boys started chucking fireworks at my head. That seemed as good a cue as any that it was time to head home.

Diwali 2012_MG_2525November 12, 2012

Diwali 2012_MG_2523November 12, 2012

The problem with cheap fireworks is that, while no fireworks are safe, the cheapest ones have an alarming tendency to explode without warning–and in all directions at once. As I ran around shooting for a few minutes I realized what a chicken I was, staying as far away as I could without missing a shot while kids as young as 6 ran around with lit fireworks held just an arms-length away from their skinny torsos. At least I could stay far away. Having lived through a Chinese New Year celebration last year, its terrifying to be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of fireworks all being lit at the time, in every direction, within the space of just a few dense city blocks. While it would be neat to see the celebrations going on all over town here in New Delhi tonight, I’ll admit a part of me is very grateful to know that we can go to bed in a few hours and hopefully get some sleep.

Diwali 2012IMG_2510November 12, 2012
A rare family photo courtesy of this lovely lady whose finally back in Delhi.

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5 thoughts on “Happy Diwali!

  1. Happy Diwali! Your fireworks shots came out fantastic! My husband and I both made a few attempts but they were so poor we decided to put down the camera and concentrate on how much Muffin was enjoying the show. I actually really like Diwali but 1) we have a nice rooftop patio we can safely watch from and 2) for the third year in a row Muffin has gone to bed on time and slept through the night even if Mike and I have not.

    I hope you get some sleep soon!

    • Thanks! I like Diwali too, its no where near as scary as Chinese New Year and a rooftop patio sounds perfect! Yay for Muffin sleeping through the fireworks, that makes the holiday all the better!

  2. Awesome pics Dani! They don’t have any big celebrations like that in INdonesia. Or they do but we don’t really participate in them as we did in BKK so I miss the fireworks and the fun times running away from them! I am a chicken to and don’t trust fireworks much! hahaha

    • Growing up my father made sure to never let us forget the time our uncle lost half his fingers on his right hand while lighting off some fireworks, hence I am quite the chicken as well! 🙂

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