10.28.2008

That Time Of The Year Again

Its that time of the year again, when my dog crawls under my bed, terrified and shivering till the bone. It's diwali, the wonderful and wasted festival of lights. I say wasted, because the true spirit of diwali is by and large lost on us.

This year, I decided to celebrate the spirit of Diwali, rather than the inane customs of the festival itself. As it happens of every major festival, I sleep late the night before and am in no mood to get up early the next day. Thus, my mood is always bad till the mid-afternoon. Around that time, I start getting into the feel of it all. Today, against my lazier tendencies, I went along with my mother to wish Happy Diwali to her aunt, who always looks forward to our visit. Very shamefully, I didn't really talk to her all that much, because I was fast alseep in my head. Then, against the want of going home and hitting the bed, I went to buy a long due birthday gift for a friend. Against all odds, I did go and give it to her too. In the evening, instead of putting up a hue and cry over the number of candles my father had gotten, I quitely put all of them and later on, for the first time I truly felt like it was Diwali. Then, after the puja, instead of putting the last Diya in front of our garage, as we do, I chose to give it to the watchman of our colony, who couldn't be at home. Lastly, I went and wished our muslim neighbours a happy diwali as well, who had put up a diya in front of their house, even though it is not their festival. Everything, well and truly out of character. Otherwise, every year, a week before diwali, i'll put a huge fuss about how I never get to celebrate Diwali properly. Occasionally I'll go nuts over the idea of an all out Diwali bash and pester my mother to no end about it till it dies down within the hour. I'll always compare my family's celebrations to my those of my friends. But in all honesty, I hardly mind. My diwali is by choice, something I realized today. It's happily limited to lighting candles, lamps, performing the family puja and making sure that my dog is not too spooked by the crackers.

All in all, I felt, these small things are what we have fast forgotten about. Diwali has ceased to be a time when old relations were met, friendships were strengthened and giving gifts was a show of love rather than opulence. There was a time, when people where made to feel indispensable by visiting them, rather than dispensing them off with chauffer delieverd gifts. Diwali once meant the day of homecoming rather than remembering those who are separated, in body and in spirit. Diwali is forgotten as the festivals of lights and known for the din of crackers that invade every part of your being. Crackers, that again are difficult to burst when you think of the amount they scare your dog, aggravate your mother's coughing and ruin the childhoods of many little children who huddle in sweatshops to make them. Thinking about it, we've pretty much bypassed the whole "community comes together-people love their life-new beginnings" point of it alltogther.

Makes me wonder, what was the point of Diwali again?

Signing Out,
Happy Diwali

2 comments:

arnav said...

i think you're finally on the track to figuring the whole point of diwali.
its like xmas here, no point to the whole season.

ishita-dasgupta said...

I quite agree.. :-|