Last year, we took a short break in October. The cottage was on the small, evocatively-named Cranberry Lake. The garden sloped down to the dock where we soaked up some sun while exchanging a wave with the lone boater who sailed by.

Fall colours were in their full glory and we seriously lucked out with the weather. They’d been calling for lows of 2 or 3, feeling colder, and lots of rain when the booking was made but we were gifted a few days of glorious sunshine and almost balmy weather. Perfect for long walks in all the parks and trails around the cottage. 

We sat each night on the deck, marvelling at the stars that hung so low you could have reached up and plucked some. We could see them reflected in the lake and with next to no light pollution, also see the Milky Way clearly.

As this was just after Diwali, I had taken some mithai up with us. One night, we were enjoying an after-dinner coffee on the deck with gujiya (a sweet I associate particularly with Diwali) while songs played softly on the iPod. Ram ka gungaan kariye sung by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi came up. I’ve heard it many times before, but listening to this devotional song in praise of the Hindu deity Ram while enjoying Diwali mithai in a place where you feel so connected with nature that you feel the presence of a higher being was a beautiful experience.

We all have special things, rituals, associated with festivals. The foods we make, or the way the day unfolds in a particular manner. New clothes, lots of mithai and firecrackers for Diwali.

When our sons were younger, we’d invite their friends over in the evening for a fireworks party.  Sourcing crackers involved planning and doing the rounds of desi grocery stores. Go too early and they were yet to receive any. Go a day too late and you risked sifting through the leftover few at the bottom of the bins. And if you managed to time it just right, well, you stood in long lines that were more like a jumble of people jostling to get in than a queue. But it was all worth it when one emerged with bags full of the good stuff. Then we got smarter and began purchasing from the trucks that sell them for Victoria Day or Canada Day and stashing some away for Diwali.

As the boys grew older, the fireworks portion of the celebration took a back seat.

Now we have a grandson to celebrate with and he wants to know if he will be allowed to light the rockets this year – last year he was only allowed near sparklers.

Cover girl Jinkle Mehta’s favourite part is lighting up the family home with diyas. She shares her family’s celebration with us on page 8.

Have a joy-filled, light-filled Diwali! Happy Guru Nanak Jayanti!

And wear your poppies with pride on Remembrance Day.


Desi News