Sunday, 22 October 2006

Some things never change

Diwali. The festival of lights which is looked forward to, all throughout the year. This year it was on 21 October. Two months before Diwali, we have all kinds of sale. Clothes, consumer items, packaged food etc etc. So much so that resistance becomes rather difficult. Even if you refuse, you will be cajoled, persuaded, threatened to go out and make the most of it that is shop till you drop.

I do remember it was not like this when we were younger. We only bought crackers and candles but lighted earthen lamps which the tradition demanded. Sweets were prepared at home and shared with family, friends and neighbours. We all gathered at one place and burst crackers to our heart’s content. We felt so elated by new clothes which were mostly stitched by the local tailor. We only bought those stuff which was needed and not something we had to, just for the heck of it.

After we worshipped the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi along with elephant God Ganesha, we lighted earthen lamps and candles. We spent all day soaking those earthen lamps in the sun and drying them in the sun. Come evening, we filled those with oil, put wicks and lighted those. Now electric lights have taken their places. We just get them and hang them. Kind of impersonal, I think. I used to have great fun bursting crackers with my three brothers. We used to compete who would burst the loudest of the lot. Though my mom wanted me to stay away from it all, I never listened. She always insisted I dress up traditionally on Diwali and not my usual attire of Jeans and a cast off tee ofone of my brothers. I listened to her as long as I was allowed to be one of the boys as my dad used to say.

Now everything seems to have changed. We just buy everything, sweets, cakes, chocolates, lights and clothes. We do not bother about the small things that matters. Consumerism is at its hilt. We are more into showing off. We get gifts and get them gift wrapped by the shop itself. We do not add any personal touch. We do not even have time for each other.

I don’t have anything against change. That is inevitable but what I really miss is the closeness we had with each other, with friends and neighbours. Now everything comes down to who bought what for whom.

This year I went off to my brother’s place for Diwali. My middle brother too turned up along with his family. After we offered our prayers to Goddess Lakshmi and Ganesha, time just did not have any meaning. I had a great time bursting crackers with them and their kids. I was back being one of the boys while my mom looked on indulgently and my dad blessed us from up there. Some things never change….


  1. Nice post, Gautami! We Indians in Canada seem to be stuck in a time warp, because when I went out to buy Diwali stuff this year I only found clay diyas and the fireworks, mostly sparklers and anars, were quite basic. From what I see on NDTV (yes, we get that network here!) and from what my friends tell me, Diwali in India is quite hi-tech these days,but atleast, as you say, the family still gets together and has fun like in the old days.

  2. Sounds like it has become as commercialised as our Christmas..
    which I personally loathe because it is sooo vapid and meaningless...
    and to make matters worse the bloody American corporations start immediately innundating the great unwashed right after their Thanksgiving...
    they start filling everyone with guilt about buying stuff in November...
    there is a good reason for the holidays being so depressing and the peak time of year for suicides..
    after you realise how the modern rat race is robbing your soul of being a human being you realise that your intimate relationships are all that matters..
    of course this revelation appears to most people as they sift throught the mound of receipts from all of the gifts that they wasted their money on that will take them months to pay for..if indeed they ever do...DOH!
    I am the Grinch and proud of it..what a scam.

  3. You're so right homo escapeons, or can I call you the Grinch? :) It's only 24 Oct, not even Halloween yet, and most shops already have a ton of Christmas decorations for sale . I feel like these festivals are being slammed down our throats. Halloween decorations started to appear in the stores when we returned from our summer vacation...late August, which means Valentine's Day cards will probably hit the stores in the last week of December *rolls eyes*

  4. Happy Deepavali gautami akka! Sorry for being usual lost in space and time.

  5. lotus reads: yes, family do get together during festivals. Thats one thing we all look forward to.

    homo escapeons: we just try keeping out of it. we concentrate on the family gathering bit. At least me and my family do that.

    But its true. Maketing diwali starts 3-4 months before it comes.It;'s kind of madness all around.

    ghosty boy, hope you had a great diwali.

  6. I am sad to hear about the commercialization of Diwali, I feel the same about our Christmas, it is so frustrating and empty...
    I was introduced to Diwali about 3 years ago in a class, and have been burning the lamps for Lakshmi ever since. She has been so good to me and helps me in my great need, along with Ganesh. I am so grateful to them.
    Perhaps you can tell me, how do you clean the earthenware lamps when they get soaked with oil? Please tell me what you do. Thank you.