Greetings for the festive season, everyone!
I’m not very fond of any Indian festival per se, I find them all tremendously tiring. So, Diwali to me is cleaning up the house and entertaining unwanted guests, putting up with boisterous people bursting fire crackers at odd hours and deleting a hundred emails by hundreds of long-lost friends and acquaintances, most of you have no clue when you last met and how you figure in each others’ mailing lists.
Of course, I do enjoy the shopping bit and the myriad varieties of sweets :-)
However, I do understand (and hope) that I belong to the minority group in this country. (Somebody’s gotta carry on the traditions and nurture the culture, fellas!) As much as I find these occasions inconvenient, I know our culture would be poorer without them. I have nothing against those who celebrate with gusto and aplomb.
I am extremely amazed by the way Indians find something or the other to celebrate every few days and weeks. Be it Shiv Jayanti or Ambedkar Jayanti or any other occasion, Indians love to let their hair down and vent their vast reserve of enthusiasm and liveliness. Cheers to that! As long as you let me be. Each to his own, right?
Today is Dushera. The end of Navratri– the time when Goddess Durga is worshipped in her nine forms with fervor and devotion. The festival is synonymous with Garba and Dandiya Raas played across the world (considering that our brethren have migrated and settled in far-flung areas of the globe). It also is the period when Ram and Ravana battled long and hard, finally culminating with Ravan’s slaying on the day called Dassera or Vijaya Dashmi.
Before my garrulous and loquacious rambling takes another unpredictable direction, any guesses about the various forms of Shakti?
Well, here they are! Bhadrakali. Amba (also called Jagdamba), Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika (or Chandi, something that I have been often called by those at the receiving end of my anger and sharp tongue), Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika – all forms taken by Durga for different purposes.
In order of celebrations, Durga is worshipped for the first three days, Lakshmi the next three, and Saraswati the final three. (Reminds me of the Mahalakshmi temple in Pune near Saras Baug. It has gorgeous idols of all three deities, and the place has a lovely aura. Must visit, in case you haven’t.)
Oh, and here’s a fantastic link in case you wana know more about customs and things related to Navaratri - http://festivals.iloveindia.com/navratri/
It’s really not funny the way most Indian youth have become westernized in thought and behavior. Not so long ago, we used to laugh about how the British need to call and ask for permission to visit, whereas Indians just barge into each others’ houses and make themselves comfortable, only to be received warmly by the host-by-force. Now it’s a reality in our country too! I don’t think I would be highly pleased if any friend or relative dropped in at my place for a holiday without informing me. I would want to be sure that I’m prepared to have them over, and also ensure that my chores and to-do’s are done. A lot of people I know would certainly agree with me. But do my parents think that way? A BIG NO. As far as they are concerned, Atithi Devo Bhava. Aptly portrayed in the Bollywood movie Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge.
Well, I guess that’s how society evolves. And I can’t say I’m sorry about it. I’m ok with the way I am, and I think respecting one’s own choices and accepting one’s own attitude is very important. I know I give my parents much grief when I don’t spare time for the guests, and I go about my own schedule and lifestyle without bothering to make a good impression on anyone and everyone – something that my parents and their peers swore to do (and were expected to) the day they were born.
The way I look at it, they pleased a lot of people.
But are they happy? I doubt it.
I’m sure that deep inside, somewhere, they want to be reckless and blasé, a desire enveloped so expertly by their own self that most would themselves not be aware of it.
As I said, each one to his own.
So, where’s the Dandiya Raas tonight?!!