Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It really Is Diwali!

It's a funny thing about rituals really, especially of the religious variety. For the most part, I dislike them intensely but some of them are inextricably linked with both the anticipations of my childhood and the contentments of my present.

Two nights ago, Diwali really began. After what is too long, I was sitting in the middle of a Laskhmi pooja, looking around at my family be more at peace than I've seen in recent memory - my mum, busy with the different parts of the ritual, my father, completely into the ceremony, and my brother and I, watching peacefully. That's how every single Dhanteras in living memory (save for the past few) has been spent.

For various reasons, for my family, the past few years haven't been as they ought to have. Somehow this year, a simple Lakshmi pooja has restored a normalcy and peace that I have, as a part of a unit and an individual, sought awhile. Amazing really, how easy it is to let things come to you sometimes.

This year's ceremony was different because the priest conducting it was not our usual one. That grand old gent passed away a few years ago. How I missed him this time. You see, as Indian, Hindu priests go, he was a dude - no other word for it! Tall, imposing and with a ready smile and wink for a child (and often young adult!) who couldn't sit still.

This new priest was a little more "with it", gave me analogies that were from a world of gizmos and technology and plain didn't have the personality of our previous priest. All the same, the ceremony was sufficiently similar to the usual one for me to be grateful. Change, it seems, always carries with it a portion of the familiar.

Tomorrow is the Gujarati New Year - among the most important days of the year for my community. It is, by far, the most important day of the year for my family. I will suffer relatives giving me varying levels of grief for various things and yet be happy about the great food and the new year that comes ahead of me.

I hope you've had a wonderful and safe Diwali and if you've been away from family, I hope you've had a lovely time with people you like. May the year ahead be full of all the benedictions that you deserve. May it also bring peace, love and laughter. Like I will tell painful relations in a few hours, allow me to say Saal Mubarak (Happy New Year) to all of you.

I know I started the year right. Please, oh please, leave it be this way! :-)

13 comments:

Stormy Zephyr said...

Happy Diwali.

the cowlick said...

my mum, busy with the different parts of the ritual, my father, completely into the ceremony, and my brother and I, watching peacefully.
Sounds exactly like my diwali at home. If ever I do a pooja on Diwali (quite unlikely, but no harm in dreamin') it would be just for the sake of getting that exact moment back in my life. Hope you have a great year ahead!

Eleventy Seven said...

Nice Nice

Reminds me of home soooo much.

Lucky bum you...

have a wonderful year ahead ... full of learning and growth.

incognito said...

From your post and what I have heard about Dhanteras from people in Bombay, I don't think that there can be a better way to start a new year. Auspicious, peaceful surroundings and blessings of elders can make your new year peaceful and prosperous. Much better way than 31st December nights.

finnegan said...

I am really getting an insider education here---feeling mighty privileged listening to your meditations on Diwali---your familial ties and community ties to Gujarati New Year.

I especially love any New Years which don't follow the January 1 model.

Thanks for this. I will be Googling Diwali and Gujarati in the coming days!

Casablanca said...

You make my eyes moist... I miss diwali at home now :(

. : A : . said...

Happy Diwali to you. Hope you had a great time.

Geetanjali said...

Hey - warm wishes of the season to you too! I could completely identify with what you said - sometimes these rituals which we are so accustomed to fighting against, just provide the most amazing sense of peace and order..

Diwali is a treasured time of the year for me as well :-)

Extempore said...

@Stormy: Thanks! I hope you had a lovely Diwali.

@The Cowlick: Poojas have that effect, no? Am glad you liked this! :)

@Saurabh: You could have come over - my family is very happy to include more - esp at such occasions! :). Thanks very much for your wishes - I wish the same for you, my friend.

@Incognito: I knew this would have appealled to you, you sentimental fool, you! :)

@Finnegan: I am so glad you liked this! You may not find much on the Gujarati New Year but I'll definitely pass on whatever I have about it. These are the things my life is made up of you. If you come to India during Diwali, pls consider my home open to you. :)

@Casablanca: Aww, sweetie! I really hope you spend the next Diwali at home - my new year wish for you! *hug*

@.:A:. : Oh yes I did, Augustus and I hope you did too! :)

Geets: Welcome back, I thought you had forsaken my blog! :P! Yes, I thought you would indentify - esp when I read your piece about mornings at home. :) I hope you have a great year, Geets!

Mriganayanii said...

hallo ,
thank you thats so sweet. i had a great diwali but really missed my brother who's in this really Godforsaken country.

transience said...

a happy diwali to you, if i haven't already greeted you.

Anonymous said...

Now why did you think I would foresake your blog? *puzzled*

Was just going throuhg something - and before I'd come to terms with it, Diwali came and took up all my attn...see now I'm back with a bang! :-)

Geetanjali

Extempore said...

@Mriganayani: Thanks! Am glad to hear it. Do stop by again. :)

@Transience: Thanks sweets!

@Geets: Am really glad to hear it, my friend! :)