Adeep and Rory's Diwali and Bonfire Night

The summer seemed such a long time ago, when Adeep and his friend Rory didn’t need a coat or even a jumper to go outside, and when it was still light enough to play in the garden until bedtime. Yesterday, when they had walked to school, it had been very windy and they’d had to look down at the pavement or get a face full of leaves. Today it was so foggy and gloomy that they couldn’t see their school until they were outside the playground gates.

‘How are you today, Rory?’ said his teacher, Mrs Wallace.

‘I don’t like this weather at all,’ he said.

‘And how about you, Adeep?’ she asked.

‘It’s dark and cold and not nice,’ he said.

‘Never mind,’ she said. ‘You’ve got Diwali to look forward to. And Rory, it’s Bonfire Night soon. That’ll cheer you up.’

‘I love Diwali,’ Adeep told Rory as they sat down and waited for the register. ‘It’s my favourite festival. The festival of lights,’ he laughed. ‘It’s MY festival, because my name means 'light' in Hindi.’

He told Rory all about it...

‘It lasts for five whole days and we put pretty candles everywhere to light our house. My family prays for good luck in the coming year. And we eat so many lovely foods. My mum makes kheer - which is a sweet, milky rice pudding - and my auntie Gita makes jalebis. They are even yummier than doughnuts. Oh and there are fireworks too. It’s so much better than Bonfire Night, Rory.’

‘No way,’ Rory said. ‘Bonfire Night is one of my favourite nights in the whole year. Our firework display is bigger and better than yours and there’s really loud music with it. Then we go home for hot vegetable soup and jacket potatoes with baked beans and sausages. My granny brings her special parkin cake. It’s made of treacle and it’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever tasted. And there are sparklers – my dad always spells out my name with one. Bonfire Night definitely beats Diwali.’

‘It doesn’t!’ frowned Adeep.

‘Does so!’ said Rory.

‘Diwali is the best festival ever!’ said Adeep.

‘It’s not!’ said Rory, raising his voice so much he was told not to shout. 'Well I’m playing with Archie today,’ he whispered.

‘Good. I’m going to play with Max,’ Adeep said and he folded his arms and turned his back.

That evening, after Rory and Adeep had gone to bed, their mums spoke on the telephone.

‘I think the boys had a bit of a falling out today,’ said Adeep’s mum.

‘Over something very silly,’ said Rory’s mum.

‘Perhaps Rory would like to come and see how we celebrate Diwali?’ said Mrs Lakhani.

‘That’s a kind invitation,’ said Mrs Stewart. ‘And then Adeep must come to our Bonfire party.’

When Rory arrived at Adeep’s house at Diwali, he thought he had never seen anywhere so colourful. There were different coloured lights inside and outside, candles and lamps shining everywhere, and swirling patterns of flower petals and coloured rice all over the floor.

‘It’s called 'rangoli',’ Mrs Lakhani told him.

Rory had never seen Adeep’s mum in a sari before - it was blue and green and gold and it sparkled. Adeep was right about the food - it tasted delicious! Rory tried to remember the names of all the different things he ate so that he could tell his mum later: pakora and vegetable dahl, then karanji shaped like little half moons and, best of all, auntie Gita’s jalebis, which were chewy on the inside and crispy and syrupy on the outside.

And when the fireworks started, they were beautiful, just like the ones he’d seen on Bonfire Night the year before. Rory loved Diwali.

Just a few days later it was Adeep’s turn to join Rory for Bonfire Night...

After an amazing firework display at the park, they stood in the garden where Rory’s dad had made a huge triangular pyre from an old wooden fence and stuffed the gaps with newspaper and twigs and dead leaves. It burned beautifully and they all stood around it drinking soup in mugs and then toasting marshmallows on long sticks. Adeep had seconds of granny Stewart’s parkin too because it tasted so good. And then there were sparklers! Adeep and Rory watched as Rory’s big brother spelled out their names before the sparkler spluttered to an end. It was a brilliant night!

The next morning at school, Adeep and Rory decided that they were very lucky to be able to spend Diwali and Bonfire Night together – and that they would definitely celebrate them with each other next year.

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