Sure, as kids we had fun. We had blasts, literally, though I have no knowledge of anyone blowing off their thumb through fiery explosive malfunction, or lose their tooth due to certain multi-concentrated ball of grain (called kal-urundai, roughly translated as rounded stone).)
But as a kid, following the rituals of the so-called religion and practices, I must admit that I truly enjoyed the event, alongside my two brothers (later, another bloke, my best friend, joined as blood brother because, well, it must be a cosmic reason).
Our very early days of Deepavali, apart from some good food (we were very poor, we can afford only some good dishes and stuff on occasions like this) was to get to know our relatives, most of whom were as strange as Klingon to Captain James T. Kirk.
We used to visit our relatives on these occasions, rather than celebrate it ourselves. We have gracious ones, (my late uncle Ramasamy @Viswanathan, a demi-god) and some others, some great, some okay, some low-life blokes who appear right out of being dunk in a vat of cheap alcohol.
Early morning all of us would go to temple praying to god that I don't believe in, than come to to great breakfast I believe in. Alas, I have faith in great Indian-styled breakfast. Period. Even that, I indulge very rarely. I prefer Nasi Lemak or Mee Hoon Goreng with sambal on the side.
Then, there would be TV specials, many locally produced piss-pots mainly to exploit the given budget, and, possibly, by male producers, onto the female artistes. We were not interested. There were good old Tamil films that will always and still do get my attention. I am not ashamed of it, even if it has MGR (google that initials) in it.
To me, the best part of the whole festival actually takes place the night before Deepavali (like the night before Christmas, Mr. Tim Burton). All of the family members would gather in the prayer to the late family members of the family, especially my grandfather, one Mr. Shankaran Nair, whose name I adapted for my son.
There would be an offering of rice, chicken curry, vegetables, etc on banana leaf. In the years gone by, there would be a bottle of Guiness Stout (apparently, my grandpa's favourite drink), but due to political correctness, it has since been replaced with plain water (poor grandpa).
What follows is the usual prayer ritual (don't want to bore you on that, you can call me to find out more but you have to give me your Credit Card number), and then WHAMMO!
Sorry grandpa, but fun starts thereof. Dad would mix the whole rice, chicken pieces, vege, whatever curry, anything, into balls and give each of us one. It's what, I think, they serve in HEAVEN!
My Deepavali ends there. The next day is just visit to the temple in early morning, breakfast, expecting visitors, sneaking time to take a nap, watch more useless TV programs, nap again, and then thinking about when to go back (to wherever you think you belong to).
There you go. A very bad David Finch-esque ending for you. But what the heck, Happy Deepavali Everyone. After all, it only happens once in a year and we are ONLY getting older. Ta-daaa.....