If I had to pick a time of year that I miss being in India, it would most certainly be during this festival of lights called Diwali. Sure, I would like to celebrate all festivals with my family, but during Diwali, it is not just the family I miss. I miss walking out on my street and watching rows of diyas (oil lamps) adorn the thresholds of all houses; I miss the community celebrations and the fireworks (no the 4th of July does not invoke the same feeling in me); I miss eating homemade sweets that I did not have to make 😛 . But most of all, I just miss Diwali as I remember it from my childhood – a normal Diwali (as I have come to think of it).
In US, most Indian festivals that fall on weekdays, are celebrated on weekends; by visiting temples, or organizing a get-together to celebrate the occasion with friends. The actual day of the festival is business as usual, as it is not a holiday, and it is pretty hard to get time from the daily grind to do anything special.
It has been almost 6 years here, and we have watched Diwalis come and go, with 2 predominant thoughts in our minds –
It’s just not the same here; I miss the normal Diwali celebrations.
I wish we were home…
But the thing is – we ARE home. This is our home; the life we chose. For our son who is born here- this is his country, his life, his normal. Now it is up to us, how we shape that normal, and our failure to do so will have far reaching consequences -D will grow up without having any fond memories of Diwali, and what a travesty that would be!
So, in an effort to create a beautiful normal for him when it comes to Diwali – we have decided to make it special – take off from work on Diwali day and spend it with family; visit the temple on the same day; light oil lamps in the house; put up a string of electronic lights; draw a rangoli with colored sand, and gorge on Indian sweets. Small steps, I know, but this is only the beginning of a tradition that we hope to create for our family in our little corner of the world, and keep a slice of India alive in America.
Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali. May the divine light of Diwali shine in your life all through the year and fill your life with happiness and prosperity.
Lots of Love
Shantala Linking this post to Write Tribe's #MondayMusings