Culture & Tradition
06 Nov 2018

Diwali Light

 

The rising day.  The shades of night fade in still air. Cast away your quilt, stealthily slip out in the emptiness of nature and listen to the chirping of birds gaze at the smiling trees breathing the divine morning air. If ever on the coastline, listen to the battling of the rumbling waves caressing the innocent beaches while mountain peaks loom above, challenging the sky high.

 

This is Diwali in nature bathing the abode of man in the bliss of ongoing light from above. Diwali shares light when there is no light. Hence, open the door, open wide your heart, for Diwali awaits.

 

The subcontinent and the Indian diaspora all over the world have reasons ten to the dozen to manifest their joy on every oncoming Diwali. But we here, in the uttermost corner of planet earth, we welcome the light of Ram and Sita (Indian Divinity) in our soul and pave their path with light of our own making.

 

A mild observance suffices to highlight the zeal of the Hindu community at the nearing of the beginning of November, for it’s an inkling of the coming of the great festival.

 

Planning, in the subconscious, tradition, a sine qua none. Whatever modernity acquired is put to the test to enhance the beauty the feast deserves. Be it a manor or a dilapidated junk of a hut, it gets a washing from top to bottom, for water purifies. A brush of paint embellishes the walls and the roofs. Utensils, glassware shine in brilliance. A jump to shopping malls or nearby shops, a must. New attires for one and all can’t be bypassed whatever the cause.    

The countdown bells prologue the coming of Ram and Sita. The morning dew ebbs in fragrance. Frying pans oiled in the oven welcoming sweets and pastries to be cooked so as to sugar the lips of deities. Gateaux piments (Chilli cakes) Gateaux patates (sweet potato half-moon shape) laddoo, barfi, rusgulla (Indian delicacies), you name it, it’s in the frying pan. Typical Indian pastries are not forgotten, but throned in perfume and flavour, challenging homemade delicacies. Gulab Jamun, shahi Tukela, Rusgulla Sandesh (Indian sweets made from milk) Jalebi (wheat flour yoghurt) Pyasam (kheer) are feast to the eyes bringing water to the mouth. Hectic the kitchen, everybody on her feet, but exhausted none, for the festivities are already on the move. The eyes dance to the tune of the mind. Jokes from elders and teens vibrate the bone in laughter for Diwali is at the door and the divine will shine in celestial light.

 

Outside strong hands are as busy as bees in a beehive. Electrification are wired on roof tops, front and side walls, in fact the whole house around. The Diya’s are fixed decoratively in line on the ground, windowsill and wall top awaiting the coming of the Divine.

 

One or two hours before sunset, time for the pillar of the events to grace us by his presence, and so time for the puja (prayer). Every member of the household, grownups or kids have their ritual bath. Body and mind fresh and cool in their new attire, are in prayer room before Lord Ram and Sita, chanting mantras (spiritual songs), praying the lord for his grace and mercy, welcoming him among us with his blessing. Sweets and delicacies are perfumed and blessed by the head of the household.

 

Once the prayer gathering over, a smiling bliss crowns the lively expression of one and all, for its time to indulge in the sharing of love, understanding, happiness and prosperity to the neighbouring’s, vital essences which can only be expressed through cakes, pastries and sweets on the occasion of Diwali.

 

In the meantime, sunset steps back giving room to the sacred light of Ram and Sita, blessing the Island, drowning all of us in joy and happiness. As we switch on the power system and ignite the dya’s (sacred lamp) all around, the whole house, the whole Island (nearly) bathe in the myriad of light engulfing the almighty siblings in a divine light which is Diwali.

 

Diwali alone has the secret, only Diwali can instigate. If we haven’t been in heaven, Ram gives us a hint what heaven can be now on an Island where we enjoy the blessing of our neighbour’s culture.

 

Happy Diwali to those of us who believe in the Divinity of the light.

 

R.M.

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