30/10/2016 3:23 PM IST | Updated 01/11/2016 12:26 PM IST

How I Want My Diwali To Be When I Turn 80

For some strange reason, I became very introspective this Diwali. Probably because for three continuous nights, I was out for festival dinners with family and friends. All three days were with different sets of people—a ritualistic pre-Diwali dinner that's been a tradition for 15 years, an impromptu dinner with cousins, aunts and uncles and a Diwali dinner at another friend's place.

All three were great fun. I caught up with some friends after ages, I chatted with my best friends for a while and I oohed and aahed over a newborn nephew.

My Diwali wish is to burn hatred, ill-will, pointless competitions and egos instead of crackers and light the lamp of togetherness and true friendships.

Of course, there were a few absentees in all the groups.

Some had other commitments, some were ill and some were missing because of ego issues with someone in the group.

I got thinking about the shared warmth, bestowed love and conspicuous absences.

I suddenly remembered one of my role models.

An octogenarian who lives in another city, who never fails to amaze me every time he visits.

He's still working full time. He has a huge circle of friends and he keeps in touch with every single relative he has.

He regularly organizes family get-togethers and movie nights with friends and he's the first person to arrive for any wedding or a funeral anywhere in the country.

He's so cheerful and can hit it off with a three-year-old as well as he does with a 75-year-old.

He loves to travel across the globe and regales us with stories of his trips across the decades.

He makes no bones about being in love with his wife too—not in a soppy, filmi way, but he's always fun and caring towards her. He never fails to call her every morning when he's away from home to check if she took her pills and to give her his agenda for the day. And he calls her every night to give her a brief account of his day and asks her about hers.

As I was mulling over the last three days of festival cheer, I suddenly felt I want to be like him when I turn 80 (if I make it that far!).

Not that I want to be the main anchor for every group I'm in, but I want to look back at a life that is peppered with good feelings from my family and circle of friends.

I don't want my friendships and relationships bruised by fragile egos, one-upmanship and possessiveness.

These things start small, but slowly gather momentum in our minds, split people up, turn friends into rivals (or worse, foes) and leave a bad taste that lingers long. They spread negativity all around. I know people who haven't been on talking terms for 30 years.

Factions form within groups, friends are torn between two people, dinner conversations suddenly turn awkward at the mention of someone, marriages sour, children are forced to take sides...the list is endless.

So my prayer this Diwali would be, when I look back at my life at 80, I should still remain best friends with my husband, be an important person in my son's life and still retain the same love and warmth I've shared with all my friends for so many years.

My Diwali wish is to burn hatred, ill-will, pointless competitions and egos instead of crackers and light the lamp of togetherness and true friendships.