Diwali was a major festival in our household, it heralded the onset of winter and preparations began much in advance. Shopping expeditions to buy candles, decorations, fire crackers were planned well ahead. Fire crackers like rockets and bombs were Diwali staples, anar, chakris and phooljari were considered good enough for kids only.
The house was given a thorough cleaning ,old unused stuff was relegated to the store room but rarely sold to the local kabaddi. The store room held many treasures for kids, one could find relics of the W W II like my uncle's water bottle, knapsack , old magazines, books and other equally interesting things.
The main Diwali day was spent cooking yummy food, sweets, making a chowk for Lakhsmi Ganeshji pooja at home. My Mom wore her special beautiful black multi -colored printed silk sari for the Diwali pooja and looked gorgeous ! Dinner was a lavish affair with festival specials like puris, sabjis, dahi vadas and kheer gracing our huge eight seater dining table. After dinner fire crackers were let off in the lawn . Next day was spent in getting the debris of firecrackers cleared , burnt out candles , diyas removed from parapets and walls and visiting relatives and friends.
The second day after Diwali was celebrated as Bhai Duj or the festival where the sister applies tilak on her brother's forehead for his well-being and prosperity . The drawing room/living room furniture was rearranged , the carpet covered with sheets in accommodate the guests. The myriad snacks and sweets prepared earlier were laid out on the dining table , plates , cups and saucers made ready for serving tea to guests . My aunts and their families joined in the celebrations and were warmly welcomed.
Post lunch we all got ready to welcome relatives and friends who joined in the celebratory game of cards Playing cards was mandatory , small fortunes were made and lost amidst lots of fun and gaiety and innumerable cups of tea prepared by my Bhabhis and myself as Mom was given the privilege of relaxing with her guests.
The youngsters gathering around in the dining room helping in looking after the guests while the elders played cards and enjoyed themselves. Later I was lucky enough to be allowed to join in as my father's banker making neat stacks of small change for him!
The evening saw the guests leaving for their own homes , exchanging warm wishes, bringing to an end the festival of lights Diwali.