Different Diwali, Same Rituals…October 12, 2017
By Jigar Shah
The running joke in America is that the biggest holidays are Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday and not the Independence Day. The reason being, these are the two days when most Americans go crazy shopping at massive discounts given by stores. If I have to find an Indian equivalent of a similar situation it would be Diwali.
Technically Diwali is a Hindu religious festival, denoting the return of Lord Ram along with Sita and Lakshman to Ayodhya after his victory over the demon king Raavan. There are certain standard happenings which takes place during all Diwali celebration; brands and stores offer massive discounts on things ranging from pin to plane. Parents queue up outside firecrackers stores, to fulfill wishes of their kids, mothers sweat it out in the kitchen to prepare the savories. But the most happening event, which to me is the precursor to the festival, is when my parents get ready in their oldest clothes and await the maid to turn up. It is house-cleaning day!
Ever since my childhood, this has been the sign that Diwali is just around the corner. Another thing that tells me that Diwali is here, is when my mother starts to butter up the maids and house-helps to not take a leave and show up early to clean the lofts and kitchen etc. It is also a day of reckoning, as I look at the things that are brought out and I go ‘We have this as well’!
I woke up this Sunday to the usual of commotion. Sundays start early in the family. As I stepped out of my room in my groggy state I realised my house had actually turned into… for the lack of a better work, a warehouse. All pieces of furniture usually found in my parents’ room were out in the living room and the dining table had turned into a supermarket for idols… enough to give Walmart a complex.
A ritual during the cleaning process is to discard stuff that we do not require any more. “Check what we don’t need, throw them away and we will buy new ones,” dad remarked. As I set onto the assigned task my mother put down her condition. “What if we need something in future, so don’t throw…”. She goes on to ask a barrage questions about every article I tried disposing – right from hair clips to empty perfume bottles. In no time a few of the articles found their way back into the shelter of the house for another year, stuff that have not been used in over three years and are unlikely to be used for another three. Moms always have their logic, one which you cannot argue with.
And then we discover things that my mom kept so safely that we never found them to use them!
Of course, few things have also found their way out of the house, but that has only left me dreading as to what will be replacing those. I guess the devil unknown will continue to be scarier than the one that we are acquainted with. Time shall see if this Diwali we get rid of these demons…
Till then, Happy Diwali! A peaceful one.
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