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.
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?