That”s right. Vernacular (Hindi language) does not have any sound for “w”, but has one for “v”. So, when transliterating, it ought to be DIVALI and not Diwali!
Like most of the festivals, this one too brings back many memories.
Although we as a family celebrated Kali Puja on Divali, I have had the opportunity to “celebrate” Divali in my school and workplace too.
In GFPS (the school I had studied till 8th standard), I had spent my most memorable days of my Life till now.
Perhaps, they will always remain the Golden period. Year after year, I assisted my class teachers in making Rangoli, decorating the class- room and also creating a mini- temple on the teacher’s table.
Tanu, you may not remember, but I do, you had bottoms up the Thumbs Up bottle when in 7th standard. Harit had burst huge crackers in one corner of the class. Himanshu had sat like one shy and morose one. I had danced and freaked out as I am. Our class teacher Ms. Maninder Pal Kaur had danced too. That used to be one day of the year, when we were allowed to carry a music system to our school. If only a few snaps were also clicked. But nevermind, at least I am now able to share this here and a couple of class- mates and school friends are around to read this.
Sob.. sob.. sniff.. how senti..!!
One Divali, I had made a big garland out of the marigold flowers.
Such huge flowers they were..!! Last year 2 such had bloomed– I didn’t own a camera or else would have clicked the pics. I plan to do that this year.
We did not do the Laxmi Puja at home. Reason: my grandmother’s name was Lakshmi. I had wanted to do the ritual at home- and I knew anything about how to. I had collected those empty Pepsi, Fanta and 7up cans that my uncle often bought from his office. He worked in Americal Center.
I had utilized the space- next to the TV, where I was clicked. For the “ceremony”, I had made Alpana on floor. I could create pretty ornate Alpanas. I had even made a set of footprints, un- identical “walking” from the main door till the Puja place. Mom had gone out of the kitchen from the main door to enter back to the house; since that was not supposed to be jumped upon. She had exclaimed in utter amazement since nobody had ever told me that that was to be made in Lakshmi Puja. They were the Goddess and the owl walking in mom; I had replied when mom had enquired upon in great bewilderment. I had not attended any Puja ceremony in Bengali family- prior to that. Yet, I had painted the set of feet exactly how that is denoted in such rituals..!!
The Marigold that had (over) grown at the terrace garden; were offered in Kali Puja in a form of a huge garland. The centre “locket” flowers were as big as 5″ in diameter!! Everyone in the Puja Pandal had expressed surprise watching such big ones. I had a few sprung up last winters in my bedroom terrace too. People had visited in plenty to “witness” the event. Thanks for asking- I had not clicked them. C’mon, I didn’t know that I would need that for my Blog. I would this year..
My school was changed the next year. I lost my mom on one Divali morning itself. Ever since, I have been unable to freak out as I used to on this day. Not that I have held anything against the day or the fest; but it just didn’t happen!
While working with Hutch, I had participated in Diya (earthen lamps) decorating contest. Peacock Lamp.
I did have a snap of that day; not anymore. I guess it’s left at Hemant’s house. I had won the competition. The Diya that Shefali (my team member) had brought; was painted with the colors that were provided at the workplace. For 4 consecutive years that I had spent with Hemant (before marrying him and spelling my Doom), I accompanied him to buy sweets and earthen lamps. No matter what, I traveled with him to SN buying flowers and other decorating objects for his family. The last and the 4th year of our “dating” years’, I was “invited” by his family (read hemant had made his parents reluctantly calling me over for the evening). Witnessing to how the women-folk were not allowed to touch the things to be placed for the rituals; I had shuddered. I had worn a black satin tunic top, with silver bottom and stole. I was forced to cover my head with a pink stole, in the name of auspicious requirement! Superstitions.. The year I had entered the wed- lock with him, all celebrations (all festivals included) had come to an abrupt halt.
Self painted peacock lamp!!
While working with Convergys, chocolates were distributed since we were made to slog on a festival. Whatever!!
This is how I feel about this day.
While most of the Indians know about “Lord” Rama returning home after slaying the Demon King and freeing his wife Queen Sita; have you ever given a thought beyond this?
Sita was then made to enter a huge fire- set- to prove her Chastity! I wonder, being a woman, I really shouldn’t feel happy about this fest. If at all, I should be grieving about what this queen woman had done millennium years ago. She had not only scarred her own pride but also set pretty low standards of self respect for all women to come in ages there-after. It was Sita who had come alive out of that fire and still- abandoned by her husband. Here WE are, we consider her husband to be the God. What a Divine comedy! Our very understanding of such facts explain how the women of this Society would be treated. No wonder they are mis- treated.
Those lit up lights, candles and lamps only remind me of- how a woman was burnt alive. She had come out unscathed out of Fire but (and maybe so) was forced to lead a life of a woman with no identity. Just who knows the history anyways? Perhaps, she died in that fire. Maybe Rama did marry someone else. As a slave to his habit of traumatizing woman, he had bandoned the 2nd one too. Maybe her name was Sita as well.
Either ways, this “festival” really don’t show men in good “light”. To only dazzle us from the reality, thousands of lamps are lit. Alas, if you choose to stay blind- folded, no amount of luminosity would enlighten your state of Being.
May the lamps are lit so as to uncover the truth and unmask the darker issues often a women gets victimized of!! May this Divali set- newer and better standards for women. May they also be awarded a tag of being a “human”. Even a Woman has a “man” in herself- just why do we keep ignoring HER existence?
Just when I had thought that mentioned above was all to share, I rememeber this-
I was in 4th standard. I had acted in a skit. I was the “grandma” of the family, since I wore glasses. Priti Sharma was my daughter-in-law and Manish Singhal my “husband”.. LOLsss
My hair was painted white- to show my age. After the skit, I had sung a song too- theme oriented. I was amongst the choir girls. It was super- fun and lovely. Maninder ma’am had staged that act for us! I so wish to regain that lost glory of being in the lime- light always.
Once again, as a kid, I got to celebrate cross- cultural festivals while participating in extra- curricular acts. Now as I write; I get to interact with people from all across the Globe! It feels wonderful.
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