Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
We are born in a country of festivals where birthdays and death anniversaries bear more significance that the life-story. The day marks the beginning of a Hindu New year and the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya. But who cares about that ! Now is the time when media is flooded with discussions on ‘Ram was a bad husband’ or ‘Ram bears no significance in the 21st century’ and even ‘Indian gods are all killers and war maniacs’. Surely whatever the truth is, Ramayana and Mahabharatha can be counted as World’s best sellers (Fiction) with global reach to billions. You might not be able to feel the Diwali but surely you can hear and smell this season of smoke and noise.
We are in the times when economies all around the globe are in downfall and some nations are fighting for their sustainable existence. And surely India too. A nation whom the world recognizes as a land of elephants, snake charmers and poverty.
But this is the magical day which has often proved all the economists wrong.
Before 10–15 years, Diwali celebrations comprised of getting your house cleaned and whitewashed before Diwali, buying new clothes, enjoying sweets, meeting friends and lightening clay diyas.Whitewashing has given way to choosing from a plethora of expensive paints for your house. Branded clothes have replaced new clothes and electronic decoration has dethroned the traditional diyas and candles. Wherever they are used, it is their modern avatars- artistically shaped diyas, Chinese lanterns and aromatic candles. Sweets are being gradually replaced by chocolates and cupcakes (those gold foil covered Swiss chocolates or better to say ‘Bilayati Laddoo’ which a traditional Indian will attempt to eat without even removing the wrap) and people have little time and patience to meet friends and relative, let alone the neighbors.
Diwali isn’t what it used to be. It’s not just that India’s festival of lights but should now be more appropriately called as the Festival of Chinese lights because china’s where they all come from. Essence is there, but the flavors have changed, drastically. Dhanteras, which falls 2 days before Diwali, was earlier believed to be a day of Yam, the god of death, is worshiped for protection from untimely death. Some consider it auspicious to buy precious metals like gold or silver on Dhanteras for good luck. Now it’s more about a day to buy sleek I-pods, shiny new laptops, Smartphones, tablets and much more.
It’s not a festival which India used to celebrate out of faith. It was more serene, more pious. But now, it’s commercialized. It’s more of a show. Now it’s the official day and opportunity to show-off, prove others the purchasing power and social status is better than others. What’s more to say about crackers and fireworks, they are loud enough to confuse people if it was a cracker or some terrorist attack.
All the discussions lead us to one thing, especially counting the urban youth count and educated internet savvy India that whatever the mainstream thinks can be changed and its just the way we celebrate has changed.
Originally published at lifeslaundry.tumblr.com.