Diwali is just around the corner and while it is of course, a great piece of history, its spirit and festivity is etched in our culture like no other.
Historically, Diwali marks the return of Lord Ram to his kingdom (Ayodhya) after 14 years of exile and is symbolic of victory of good over evil. With all of Ayodhya being lit up in his welcome, it continues to be a festival of lights.
But beside the lights, the festival has a deep spiritual significance. It is a time to draw a line, mark an end to negative emotions that cause stress and anxiety, a time to cleanse the soul and make new beginnings. An extremely auspicious day, it’s often a day when Indians buy assets and embark on new ventures. The day devoted to Goddess Laxmi, for she is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, financial and spiritual.
Having lived in various places from Liberia and Las Palmas to Jaipur and Edinburgh, I’ve celebrated this day in many ways.
I remember childhood in Liberia where the community would get together for evening prayers; though the part I enjoyed the most was the ‘Diwali Ball’ with its scrumptious Indian food and Bollywood style singing and dancing. Liberia, and Liberians, will be in my prayers even more so this year.
Jaipur, on the other hand, was an entirely different experience. The Pink City is lit up in its entire glory and the whole town joins in, somewhat like Christmas.
But beside the lights, the festival has a deep spiritual significance. It is a time to draw a line, mark an end to negative emotions that cause stress and anxiety, a time to cleanse the soul and make new beginnings.
As teenagers in Jaipur, my sister and I would begin the day going round exchanging sweets with friends and family. Evenings would mean prayers at home, followed by large family meals and finally fireworks in the streets. Though, in the spirit of kindness, I wish sometimes, it was limited to lights and we could keep the noise down…
Late night card games are very popular too. At a time when we are so consumed by busy schedules and smart phones, the charm of a simple family get together, good old banter and a light game is just unbeatable.
I guess, I’ll miss the family and celebrations as I head to work in London this Thursday morning (#TBT) because it’s at times like these you miss family that little bit more. But all the same, I keep the spirit alive. There will be a short prayer and diyas at our home. And I’m taking stock of my life even as I write this; the inner voice telling me that this year I need to make more time, for myself, and for those who matter.
And while I’m humbled by Federer’s words, I’m hoping for some generosity from Mourinho too as I head off to Manchester for the Chelsea Vs Man U Premier League fixture over the Diwali weekend. I so want a selfie with him; you’ve got to admit, he’s handsome! I know I’m asking for miracles here but then it’s Diwali and Laxmi is around.
Wishing you all a happy Diwali; and peace and good health to the world.