It’s already started. When I call Bangalore, my Amamma answers the phone speaking in a language I don’t understand. I scream my name intermittently, hoping that the words will get through from Melbourne to India, but nothing does. Perhaps she’s forgotten she has a granddaughter in Australia. It doesn’t help that she’s deaf in her left ear – the one she leans the receiver on – but at 88 she is excused just about anything. I manage to understand from her shrieks that preparations for Diwali, ”the festival of lights”, have begun. My aunt is at the temple making a puja (prayer) for the Goddess Lakshmi and taking prasad (sweets) to the neighbour’s house. She will clean the house, light oil lamps and create Rangoli designs on the dirt path outside the front door with flour, rice and coloured chalk to attract the goddess. Wealth and good fortune are Lakshmi’s business and on Diwali she’s as stretched as Father Christmas. My aunt is not alone. For the five days leading up to October 17 through to the day itself, Indians of all denominations around the world cleanse themselves and their houses, light lamps and set off firecrackers for the goddess.