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Why being alone on Diwali is torture

Being on my own on D-Day is my idea of torture. But that’s exactly what I’ll be this year. So I may as well have fun while I’m at it! Pranav Dixit writes about his home-alone experience...

brunch Updated: Oct 22, 2011 17:41 IST
Pranav Dixit
Pranav Dixit
Hindustan Times

Perhaps the only thing more depressing than being single and abandoned on Valentine’s Day by a bunch of friends who are all seeing each other is being single and abandoned on Diwali day by a bunch of friends who have their plans for D-Day already cast in stone: some are going to while away the next few days/weeks in their hometowns (you lucky b******s!); others are planning shopping sprees, vacations, parties, get-togethers with families and what have you. I, on the other hand, am going to be breaking a tradition that I’ve never broken before in my life: I’m not going home this Diwali. Instead, I’m going to be spending it right here in Delhi and all by myself.

The reasons for this are varied and the whole story is more masaledar than a Bollywood movie (it involves two sets of angry parents, some botched-up train reservations, a fuming ex, a hospital visit, an irate boss, a looming deadline, and stars yours truly in the lead. I’ll leave you to figure it out) but everything boils down to the same thing: as you light your diyas, don your kurtas, burst your crackers, somewhere, deep in the heart of the city, will be a lonely soul, alone on the terrace of his building, gazing up at your fireworks. (Nothing like some good old melodrama, eh?)

Home alone

Okay, it’s not really that bad. After all, we single-in-the-city types are pretty much used to going about life on our own when friends have their own plans – trust me, going mall-hopping with an iPod plugged into your ears is a luxury best enjoyed alone (my colleague Yashica – flip the page back, please – who paints the town red every other night despite being a single-in the-city type – vehemently disagrees). But even for a loner like me, spending the festival of lights alone in the city is not exactly a cheerful prospect.

On the other hand, it does lead to decidedly serendipitous things:

* I cleaned out – really, properly, thoroughly cleaned out – the bachelor pad after a LONG time. Saw off a grinning kadabiwala groaning under the weight of 17 old shirts, three pairs of ragged trousers that looked like they’d been used for shooting practice, a dusty old table with three broken legs and a room full of ageing newspapers. This was a historic moment.

* I used the money obtained from selling off the scrap to buy crackers.

* Taught grandpa how to use Skype so we can see each other on Diwali day. He is hooked and now spends much of his free time pinging his children in the US, much to their amusement and delight.

* Went kurta-shopping and splurged on myself. It’s amazing how much more you can buy when you don’t have to budget for that pesky maasi and her brood of annoying little kids.

* Shopping online for all other (non-pesky) relatives was a breeze and took less than an hour.

* Promised a delighted mom that I’d take a long holiday and come home for New Year’s to make up for not showing up for Diwali (note to the boss: yeah, I did sneak a leave request in. But I was going to come and ask you anyway, I swear!)

* Listened to everyone back home telling me how much they would miss me this year. Basked in the attention for a long time.

* Suddenly discovered, courtesy Facebook, that a couple of virtual friends are going to be in the city by themselves too – hooray!

* Food and drink, decks of cards, more boxes of fireworks than we can possibly burst in one night (everybody pooled in their own) and bunch of happy people delighted to have company – this promises to be a cracker of a Diwali!

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference. :)

The Brunch survival GUIDE: How to be alone when you really ought to be with people?

Sometimes, s**t happens. Things just don’t work out and before you know it, you are suddenly faced with the prospect of spending D-Day all by yourself.

Here’s how to cope if worst comes to worst:
* Indulge! Order your favourite food (don’t skip dessert); get yourself a nice bottle of wine.

* Make a playlist of your favourite songs. Be a conscientious neighbour... shut all your windows, then crank the volume on the stereo all the way up.

* Watch all your favourite movies back to back. Action and comedy are best.

* Use Google+ to organise an online get together with family and friends – what did you think that Hangouts feature is for?

* Get on Twitter where there’s always someone to talk to. It’s amazing how quickly loneliness disappears in the Tweetosphere!

* Keep booze handy (note: a drunken tweet or a Facebook update could potentially haunt you for the rest of your life).

* So what if no one’s around? Dress up – there’s no reason not to look your best!

* Get some retail therapy and go shopping. Now is your chance to splurge.

* Draw up a list of all the long lost friends you’ve been meaning to get in touch with and call them up. Catching up with old pals can be incredibly therapeutic.

* Be happy. This too shall pass.

From HT Brunch, October 23

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First Published: Oct 19, 2011 19:22 IST