It coincides with the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kaarthigai, when the moon is full and the Keerthika star is visible in the night skies, or something along those lines. The astrological part escapes me.
Mum told me a week back but I forgot completely. Then BB called and it hit me that for the first time in 24 years I wouldnt be vegetarian on this day. A day many non Hindus think is Deepavali but is not, though some consider it an extension. It's a day where Lord Shiva made himself a single speck of light, hence why we worship the flame; a day where six small boys became One for the love of a Mother; a day I find more exciting than Deepavali, more so for it's lowkey home celebration scale.
I miss running from porch to backyard and making my way up the staircase to the altar to light the little clay lamps we call agal vilakku with my siblings and parents.
I miss the small prayer as my eyes take in the myriad of flower offerings at the table which serves as our altar at home.
I miss running around with a scrap of cloth to dab up oil spills despite the folded layer of paper we place meticulously under each lamp to prevent such things.
What I would give to sit at home, all lights switched off and just watched the flickering lights in the still humid darkness of the warm tropics.
What I would give for the small smiles we exchange as we genuflect on our efforts as a team.
Strangely, I even miss collecting the used lamps and cleaning them up.
Most of all, I miss celebrating it at home. The memory of last year's Kaarthigai at home is making me smile now, a welcome recluse from the previous 4 years of it practically not being celebrated here away from home. This year I brought the agal vilakku with me and will place one at the doorstep to my room when the sun sets at 4pm.
Am looking forward to future Kaarthigais with my loved ones.
Thank you BB, thank you Amma. Happy Kaarthigai to all who celebrate :)