It's diwali and I have a cold

Diwali’s a day away and I’m nursing the worst cold of my life. My nose drips, my head is heavy, my temples throb, I’ve sneezed about a thousand times and I’m grumpy as a bear.
Called up a friend in desperate need for a sympathetic ear and she brushes me off with a, “Can’t talk now… am getting my house done… the workers are all over the place.” Called over my sis-in-law, “Sorry, says she apologetically.. we’re getting our doors polished… no time.” Logged onto Facebook and a friend’s status message reads, “Carpenters everywhere.. jazzing up the house for Diwali.”
I get on with breakfast and lunch.. sneezing all the way. I try chasing away the cold with a bout of steam and endless cups of bitter ginger tea. The day is half gone. By now I have also swallowed a Crocin, a Wikoryl and an Avil and am a tad wonky from the last one. Yet the cold refuses to go. I really need to do something. Desperate, I call up my doctor sis-in-law. “Where are you?” I ask. “Shopping for Dhanteras. What happened to your voice?” “What antibiotic can I take for a cold?” I demand brushing aside the niceties. “Do you have fever, bad throat? No? Then no antibiotics. Just wait it out.”
Damn! Say I, wishing for a more colourful vocabulary that would have allowed me to express myself better.
Might as well get on with the Diwali preparations, I decide. I climb up precariously on a chair and start hanging out kandils.
Interesting how unlike real women Diwali never turns the telly women into dust hating freaks, just shopping freaks. Dressed up in bridal finery they rush around armed with fancy shopping bags.
Even if they do try their hand at cleaning all the dust they find must be somewhere really high up. As they balance on their delicate toes they must come crashing down right into the arms of a waiting stranger who is necessarily handsome and adept at the deep-in-the-eye look.
I let out a deep sigh… and that dislodges a rather large blob of dust that sets off a sneezing spree and I come crashing down. Even as I try to steady myself, laughter bubbles out. So much for handsome strangers! Not even the faithful husband is around, who by the way has been dispatched to get some sandes and samosas following the adage ‘feed a cold starve a fever’.
The laugh feels good.. it saves me from turning into a Scrooge.
The door bell rings. The husband and kids walk in… I look at them ruefully. I’ve spent the day groaning and sneezing, yelling at everyone. What a waste. I bring out the special Diwali hugs.
Later I happily watch my diet blown to smithereens as I dig into the gorgeous samosas and crisp chillies. “I didn’t even go to the gym today,” says the small voice of the conscience. I stifle it with a huge bit of the delicious Sandes. It’s Diwali.. and I have a cold.

Time enough, later.

PS: Whether it was the laugh, the hugs or the samosas... I do feel better already.

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