FESTIVE SPIRIT/LOOKING BACK
Lighting a diya
for a memory
The bond forged with a mad man during a
childhood Diwali still haunts Shishir Bhate.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
Freaky weather just prior to that Diwali, a long time ago, almost threatened to pour cold water on our familial celebrations. Decades have passed, but hat event is still etched on my mind.
It was an elegiac night. The heavens wept a grey drizzle.
The wind whistled an eerie threnody. The occasional thun-
derclap, as lightning struck, sounded like the crack of doom.
The world, meanwhile, slumbered, cowering in the safety of
It was the bizarre weather that frightened me more than the
rumbling heavens. But what awakened us was not nature’s
awe-inspiring orchestra; it was sharp, piercing human sobs,
punctuated with spasmodic sighs, cleaving through the
sounds of the night; a haunting wail that drives sleep away.
Inquietude forced us to investigate.
Shishir Bhate is Associate Editorial Director, News and