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.
*Linking this post to Write Tribe’s #MondayMusings