“In 2015, I was posted to a city in South India for my job, and it had only been a few months since I shifted there that Diwali happened. To save money and avoid taking leaves from my new boss, I decided not to travel back home for Diwali. At the office, I had friendly colleagues, but I didn’t feel enough to celebrate a festival with them. Basically, on the night of Diwali, I had nothing much to do – I went to a nearby temple and then had dinner at a restaurant – all by myself. At the end of the day, I felt lonely and regretted my decision of staying back.
The next day, I went to the office and was working. Suddenly, I got a call from my flatmate asking me if I was interested to join him at his friend’s house where they are planning to host a Diwali pooja and dinner. By then, my flatmate and I hardly spoke, so I was a bit surprised by his invitation. But, I nonetheless said yes. That evening, I dressed up and went to my flatmate’s friends’ house and celebrated Diwali with a complete set of strangers. It took me about an hour to relax and get comfortable, but after that, I became friendly with all of them. This group became my first set of friends in that city for more than a year. From that day on, we started hanging around regularly after-office – for movies, shopping trips, dinners, and even to travel to nearby hill stations. And all this happened because my flatmate invited me to a Diwali get-together. It’s been years since then, but I still look back to this event in my life with fondness and so much affection and gratitude towards my flatmate. In that unknown city with strangers, we celebrated Deepawali Apni Si.”- Pranav