041118 – 081118
Even before flying off to Hong Kong for exchange, one thing had been at the back mind with regard to this exchange: I would be in Hong Kong during Deepavali. I would not be with my family for one of our most important festivals; the lone Indian/Hindu occasion that has a public holiday in Singapore.
Customarily my family doesn’t really spend Deepavali very extravagantly whatsoever; we just go to the temple in the morning, invite relatives over for lunch and chit-chat and more often than not just lepak at home thereafter. But it was valuable family time, and it was very important to my folks, especially my mom, that everyone was at home and celebrated the festivities and enjoyed the good food etc. together as a family. And it’s important to me too. I always genuinely enjoy and treasure the feel-good vibes that Deepavali with my family brings about. It was so sad that I wasn’t gonna be at home with my fam for Deepavali for the first time in my life.
And then uh..
I told people it was a snap decision but tbh it wasn’t really lah. Like I said it was something that had been on my mind for a long while; something I went back and forth on every now and then whenever I randomly remembered. I spent long stretches internally debating whether to pull the trigger or not. There were factors to consider on both sides.
On the one hand was the “first Deepavali away from home” storyline, where I could experience being overseas, away from my family, for Deepavali and be able to look back and reflect on that experience further down the road.
On the other hand was the “going back home for Deepavali” angle, where I make a conscious effort to travel back to my home country to reach home in time for Deepavali and spend it with my family, and where it would also have the “first time in my life” factor, in the sense that it would be the first time that I **fly back from overseas** to be with my family for Deepavali.
Like either way it was going to be a unique experience, and possibly once-in-a-lifetime, especially if I end up working in Singapore. I could either experience spending Deepavali alone in a foreign country and save money, and probably video-call my family to have some shared moments etc., or I could catch a flight back home and surprise my family and have a good time spending 1-2 days with them.
Idk ah but eventually the latter appealed to me more. I think two factors mainly helped to push me over the fence:
1. I somehow remarkably recalled an old Maruti Suzuki commercial which I had seen many, many years back in which I remembered a scene where a chap was waiting at the roadside trying to hitch a ride back home for – you guessed it – Deepavali (or Diwali in this case, it was a north Indian ad). And I amazingly managed to find the video (you can skip to 0:45 to see the part I’m talking about). That scene really resonated with me, and drove home (no pun intended) the point that Deepavali is a very important family occasion.
2. I wasn’t informing my folks that I was coming back for Deepavali. So like the excitement factor was there as to how they would react when I suddenly appeared at the door the night before Deepavali. Would surely be the craziest surprise move of the year HAHA.
So yes, that’s exactly what I did. I kinda knew my family’s routine schedule (obviously) and tried to time everything perfectly to show up at the doorstep when they’d be just sitting at the sofa and watching TV and chilling after dinner around 9.30pm.
Both my mom and bro jumped off the sofa in unison. My mom started screaming and ran inside. Even my brother shouted in shock/bewilderment. My dad was inside at the dining table eating and didn’t immediately see me, but I heard him say something like “eh don’t joke around” as he walked to the door, and similarly also shouted in amazement upon seeing me.
It was probably the happiest family moment I’d ever experienced in my life. So worth it.
Signing out. Peace. Guru.