We are enjoying a long weekend here, with schools closed for four days to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights.
Decades ago, at my Grandmother’s place, we used to be up at 2.30 am in the morning for an oil massage followed by a hot bath. By 4.30 or 5.00 am, the entire household would be ready, dressed in new clothes. The next thing on the agenda would be a spoon of homemade medicine especially prepared for Diwali , eaten on an empty stomach to fortify us as we dug into the variety of sweets served.
Then, it would be time for firecrackers. The entire neighborhood would be out, freaking out over all sorts of crackers. Neighborhoods would compete with each other to see who caused the most debris, evidence of which would be visible the next day. The air would be thick with smoke.
I am glad to say that we no longer do that.
Beginning 1987, when my Mom and I moved away from the family to another city, we resolutely woke up at 6 am and enjoyed the holiday. Of course, there were sweets. But no firecrackers. Both of us did not approve of it. To me, it is a direct way to turn cash into ash. More important though, is the heart break from knowing how they are made. Fireworks factories employ little children. No way I was going to support child labor!
As the years have gone by, we’ve scaled down the so-called celebration of festivals and restricted ourselves to doing those constructive things – or at the very least – doing things that don’t hurt others. We’ve done away with most rituals. Someone once asked us if we had introduced austerity measures in our house, similar to the one being enforced by organizations that were tightening their budgets. Indeed we have.
Fact is, I grew up knowing what it is to want for something and find that I am happy with the basics. So this year, too, we focused on spending our money supporting our favorite welfare homes and enjoyed a quiet happy day at home.
I am blessed to have a family that supports me. I am doubly blessed to have friends who think the way I do.
It is so heartening to see more and more children moving away from the urge to splurge money on crackers. Here is a very heart-warming post I read over at Proactive Indian’s blog yesterday, titled A Brighter Festival of Lights. Pro has two sons, aged 9 and 12. To quote him:
“He (the 12-year old) explained that there had been a lot of discussion in school about the exploitation of child labour in the fireworks industry, as a result of which many students had decided to boycott fireworks as a mark of protest. He and his 9 years old brother had both decided to join the boycott. No, they did not want to buy anything for themselves instead of fireworks. They felt that would not be a genuine boycott. Instead, they wanted the ‘fireworks money’ to be donated to an orphanage near our house.” (please read the rest of the post)
Indeed a brighter festival of lights! The post touched my heart and I was thinking of my own 15 year old, who banned fireworks in our house at the age of 6. (oh we do have fireworks, but that’s verbal and nobody is harmed by its use). If only all fireworks would be banned! I am thinking of the noise pollution and the smoke!
I do love the other frills of a festival though! The sweets, the meeting people, wishing each other health and happiness and the general atmosphere of joy!
I am counting my blessings on a daily basis these days. I am grateful for…
Family. Oh yes, they love me.
Friends. Oh yes, they love me too! They keep telling me I can do it, whatever I am doing!
Support. I am getting this from everywhere!
Encouragement. Just one look at the comments on my last post – how could I ever fail? Thank you!
The empty kitchen sink this morning – kindly cleared by Sury. What a lovely surprise.
My Muse. Such as it is. On Day 3 of the NaNoWriMo I am sitting pretty at 18000 words. I don’t know what happened to me – but I am attributing it to all the love I am receiving. Also, the holidays – I always get more done in the morning – I am an early riser.
The funny thing is, I am not even overly concerned about publishing what I am writing. For now, I am just enjoying the process, which is a great place to be!
Life is good, I tell you!
Now here are some random photos I like 🙂 Ever notice how, even when a photo is not perfect, we love it anyway?
This rangoli design is delightful. It is available as sheets and one cuts and makes the design of her choice. I saw quite a few and was enchanted.
This is a tableau of Krishna having a good time with the gopikas. Somehow I found the statues (papier mache) very amusing.
Fine. Go ahead and laugh. This is an action figure of Hrithik Roshan, Bollywood Film star in his latest role as Krrish. I can’t help it. I like action figures.
My tray of Diwali lights. Yep, I took it easy with tea lights. Got to admit they’re more convenient than last year’s oil lamps.
I loved watching them glow, the flickering flames dancing to the whisper of the gentle breeze. Quite mesmerizing!
Now check out this gorgeousness. May Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth bless you with prosperity!
What is a festival without sweets? Here’s what I made. The famous South Indian 7 cups sweet.
I also made a chocolate cake for variety but before I thought of taking a photo, a part of it had disappeared! So I let it be.
P.S.: Stay tuned for my post on Tuesday – November 5. Got news to share!
What did you celebrate this week?
Are you counting your blessings?
I am linking with the amazing Unknown Mami who takes stunning photos and hosts Sundays In My City, my favorite meme. Let’s travel the world together.
Counting blessings…a sure way for Diwali 🙂 Happy post!
Rainbow Hues recently posted…The Light That Shines
Holidays here too. Happy Diwali!
This is the best time for candle light….
BLOGitse recently posted…yellow cover
Since my retirement from nearly fifty years as a registered nurse, I’ve spent fifteen months of the past two years in India, now celebrating my 2nd Diwali here. I am finishing up a six month stay in Mumbai. Last year, I was five months in Jaipur. I love the cultures and traditions of India – I call this land “the country of my heart”. In the U.S., most cities sponsor the fireworks exhibitions and independent use of “crackers” is discouraged for holidays, eliminating many accidents and injuries. I love the customs of the diyas and candles, when handled safely…and the wonderful sweets in India.
Blessings to you this Diwali. I am just now realizing, Vidya, this is your blog. Greetings to you, my friend.
Carmen’s Chronicles recently posted…Diwali 2013 – November 2, 2013
Truly original and creative these compositions, I like very much, greetings!
What a joy filled post Vidya. Love the colours of everything from your voice to the pics. Gladdened my heart.
Elle recently posted…5 Habits That Will Rock Your Life
Such a nice heartwarming post on the day when the whole world celebrates the festival of lights.
Loved all the visual blessings as well, especially the Seven Cup one 😀
Jairam Mohan recently posted…Bhima and the Saugandhika flowers
I see some businesses here having sales and referring to Diwali. Thanks for explaining what it means and the traditions of the holiday.
The fireworks are definitely dangerous and since they do exploit kids, it is another good reason not to use them.
Have a happy holiday.
Mary Stephenson recently posted…Brain Fog and How to Grab it by The Tail
Happy Diwali Vidya 🙂
To you, too, Pixie! 😀
Vidya Sury recently posted…Inspiring Stories The Power Of Encouragement
7 cup sweet? I must get the recipe for this. Why does it look so similar to a sweet my mom makes with Rawa, coconut and sugar! Loved the Rangoli picture.
Happy Diwali Vidya. 🙂
Jyothi Nair recently posted…A life in return
Jyo, most of these sweets look similar, especially without food coloring. 7 cups is easy. Happy Diwali to you, too!
Vidya Sury recently posted…How Do You Spell Love?
Happy Diwali, Vidya!
Thank you for the reference to my post and for the link!
Proactive Indian recently posted…Let us say ‘Thank you’ more often
Happy Diwali to you, too, Pro. You are welcome!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Little Scoops Of Joy
Happy Diwali Vidya
Yes I am counting my blessings makes my world abundant. Thanks for your colour and story and wow that’s a lots of words in a few days. i am doing the Non fiction version #WNFIN 🙂
Suzie Cheel recently posted…Color Prescription 7: The Crown Chakra
I am beginning to count my blessings again.
For example, you, Vidya, are a blessing.
My Inner Chick recently posted…Keep Holding On. Footage of Kay’s Last Days.
Love the pictures Vidya and the message of gratitude. It is always a good one!
Cathy Taughinbaugh recently posted…When It’s Time, Let Go
counting blessing a sure way for all festival .. happy diwali
Enjoyed the eclectic mix of pictures you put up Vidya. Thanks for that great recipe for a happy Diwali – counting your blessings. Am sharing it with the kids tonight.
obsessivemom recently posted…Whew Diwali…
And thanks for such a wonderful post.You never fail to surprise us with your unique ingenuity.
Even a simple festive occasion has been carved in such beautiful words that things are vivid for so many folks across the globe.That’s your insight lightening up thousands of hearts and minds across the blogosphere.
BTW we also restricted use of firecrackers this time.And for the first time i did something altruistic this Diwali.it was very satisfying.
Thanks once again Vidya.
Happy Diwali once more
richmiraclefiles recently posted…The Mysterious,Invisible Mental Body
Hi dear Vidya-
You could teach top universities who teach happiness and optimism courses alot. You are the epitome of both. When I write my book on joyfulness -my dear friend- you will be highlighted -with love and gratitude – Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…48 Ways To Boost Spiritual Health – Transform An Ordinary Day Into An Extraordinary One
hope you had a good Diwali Vidya! Diwali reminds me of color, light, and the divine – all which your photos share:) Oh, and delicious sweets and Bollywood action figures of course…well, maybe not that last one but still enjoyed the photos.
Vishnu recently posted…Can We Elect Marianne Williamson to Congress?
We don’t celebrate Diwali here in the United States so I find your post fascinating, and the posts of other Write Tribers fascinating as I learn more about Diwali. I hope you had a Happy Diwali and you will always have a life filled with happiness and blessings. ♥
Kathy recently posted…The Secret’s in the Sauce
Ah! The true joys of a festival can be experienced when we keep to the basics – family, food and counting our blessings! Love the picture of the thali with the candles – beautiful!
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Finding Colour In The Clouds
Loved your pics. I love rangoli but the wind here in Wellington is so strong – no use decorating the outside. Might do a thali rangoli next year. Nothing wrong with tea lights – it’s the spirit with which they are lit.
Suzy recently posted…Que Sera Sera from a Quatrain
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