Alisha was getting done with all her photoshoots and picture edits two days before the deadline, reason being the family get together for Diwali in Jaipur.
Two years ago, her father who was in a central government job got transferred to Delhi. Thereafter, Alisha joined Indian Institute of Photography, much to her family's surprise, because they wanted her to opt for something which was mainstream and promising.
With all their relatives in Jaipur, Alisha, her mom, dad and elder brother were suppose to leave for Jaipur the next morning and join them as Diwali was a festival which they always celebrated with the paternal side of her family. This year too, she was very excited to meet all her cousins and her grandparents.
They reached Jaipur a day before Diwali and checked into Heiwa Heaven Resort, located by the outskirts of Jaipur. The resort was beautiful with lush green gardens and all the luxuries like spa, gym and a massage centre. Her grandparents and uncles were already there with their respective families.
All the kids played in the pool whole day long and the ladies spent their leisure time at the spa and massage section of the resort. The men were busy playing cards.
In the evening, during tea time, family gossips and conversation jam started. It was all fun and game hearing the wives making jokes about their husbands' habits until everyone's attention shifted on Alisha.
Mishika chachi said something to her mom about the hair color Alisha had got few months back. Ramesh chacha, her husband overheard and looked at her for a while.
"Alisha, how is your so called college going on? Where are you shooting these days?" Her uncle said with an intension of making fun of her.
"Who told you to get into all this? What will you do after college? Photography in weddings?" Another uncle added. "You still have time, leave this and do your graduation in something respectable." He added.
Hearing all this Alisha went completely numb. Since the day she decided to make her passion her profession, she has been continuously listening to all this. And this time she was in a total mood to enjoy her vacations, but finally the topic of her career was touched to eliminate her happiness from the festival.
She was continuously thinking as to why these people can't accept the fact that photography is a dream profession. They don't even know the amount of happiness one feels while capturing the most beautiful moments of someone's life or beauty of nature. Those are the moments which a photographer preserves for you. But these people have such narrow minds it's hard to fit this wide fact inside it. Sometimes it feels like our relatives are born either to brag about their own achievements or to let others down.
Before she could say anything, her aunt started giving her views.
"We said even back then, you should have gone for at least something which had a scope. You are just trying to make a career out of a hobby which will lead you nowhere. This isn't a movie. And remember Karan, Mr. Sharma's son, who was your classmate till 8 standard? He got admission in IIT Mumbai. And most of your classmates are preparing for medical and some of them have already got into good colleges. Science was a very bright field for you, but you ruined everything."
Alisha's mom and dad had always supported her but today her relatives did not let them speak. They started blaming her parents for giving her the freedom and fulfilling all her unreasonable wishes.
All of them kept speaking and demoralizing her. Alisha got up and moved out. She didn't want to make them understand anything as she knew that these people will continue criticizing till the time she makes it big someday. She went to her room. Few minutes later, Rohan, her elder brother, came into the room. She was very close to him and he was among those few people who always supported her in her choice of career. He has always been there for her and even today he tried to lighten up her mood. Their other cousins joined them after sometime and they all tried to cheer her up. She acted fine for a while but all those thoughts kept lingering in her mind.
She had still not encountered any of the elders except her grandparents. They told her not to worry about anyone or anything. Her grandma told her she has always been her favorite and kissed her on her cheek. That gave her hope.
Later that night, everyone was busy playing board games in the gaming section of the resort and Alisha joined them for a while. But she couldn't keep up that smile for long. She had no mood to celebrate Diwali the next day and blamed all those relatives for ruining the festival for her.
She went away from everyone and sat on a chair placed in a dome shaped spot near the swimming pool. She looked around. The resort was decorated marvelously. It felt peaceful seeing the lights all around. The star lit sky and the lights of the resort reflected in the pool. She sat there quietly for a while. Everything started flashing in front of her eyes,
How she got into this college, which was believed to be India's best college for photography, though it wasn't for her relatives. She thought about her achievements, winning the best photographer award in the state level competition last month. Her parents and brother have always been by her side, and she was eternally grateful for that. Also at the end of the day, it was her life, and she only gave the power to her parents to decide for her, because they were the only ones to be effected by her decisions. She thought about all those memes about relatives she keeps getting in her social media feeds. Relatives are indeed famous for taunting you about your career choices and life decisions. So why care about it so much? It was Diwali and she should be happy. It used be her favorite festival as a child. How could she suppress that child in her today?
Suddenly, she got up, brought her camera and started capturing pictures of the beautiful sceneries. Alisha was finally feeling a bit better. Her cousins were calling her from a distance and she went towards them and started clicking pictures of all the happy faces there.
Everyone was enjoying and Alisha was happy too. She was doing what she loved the most and that's what matters after all. Her mood was a lot better now. Capturing moments brought her happiness.
All her uncles and aunts told her to show them the pictures she had been clicking all this time and the smile that came on their faces, seeing their happy candids made everything worth it.
Alisha was finally content, she had got her Diwali gift in the form of a wonderful life lesson.
As long as she was happy, nothing else mattered. Following your dreams can never be wrong. She finally understood that and hoped that her relatives would also understand this someday. As the fireworks began, she looked into the sky through her lens and clicked the beautiful umbrella of the sparkling air cracker and felt a calmness inside.
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