The new generation overseas barely relates to Diwali experiences!
Yes, we celebrate Diwali in America too, in fact all over the world. By the crowd (if a few dozens of Indians qualify as a crowd!) at the Indian stores, you can tell that the desi families are getting ready for Diwali – the festival of lights.
However, unlike in India, there are no bazaars displaying the fire-crackers, there are no fresh sweets being prepared. The sulfur smell of fireworks is missing. The bustling and hustling shopping experience is not the same, not even close by any stretch of the imagination.
And then, if you look closely, only the grown-ups are much too excited about Diwali. The Indian kids in American, who have never experienced a Diwali night in India, don’t know what the big fuss is all about. One can try to explain to them what Diwali is like, but how would you do that? The Diwali scene in India is so unique, the festival involves so much desi culture, so many Indian traditions.
You can try explaining, but how…
“Well, it is a festival of lights…ummm..lots of fireworks and sweets…,” you can go on..
“Is it like Christmas?” is a common inquiry from the curious kids.
“Well, not really…”
Words fail to do justice with the description of Diwali, and especially of the Diwali night.
How would you describe the excitement and enthusiasm of every kid in India – young or teenager – on Diwali night? The day full of treats, and a night full of fireworks and lights … The kids in India, rich or poor, wait for Diwali for months. The count-down starts even before the summer is over.
On this night, the absence of moon does not mean that the dark shall prevail. The endless rows of small earthen oil lamps and candles line up the rooftops of every mansion and every hut all over. Rich or poor, every household is full of light, full of life…
Just like a picture is worth a thousand words, the night of Diwali is hard to narrate to those who have never experienced one. The first-hand experience of Diwali, especially for a kid growing up in India, is a very special one. A well told story from generation to generation about a land far away is one thing, being a kid in India on Diwali night is,..well,.. very different; a totally different story.
And that is what the second generation of Indian kids in overseas countries are missing. Those who have heard about it or read about it, but never been to Diwali in India, can not appreciate the euphoria it brings. It is hard to describe the feeling of warmth, joy and excitement – all combined into one. The feeling is truly that of a kid in the candy-land…
The young and old alike compete with each others in every street on this night; the objective is simple – to have the most impressive and the loudest firework in the neighborhood. This will grant you the year-long bragging rights. 🙂
The sky, no matter which direction you look in, is full of trajectories and traces of fire; as if the shooting stars have taken over, but only traveling in the wrong direction, from ground up to the heaven!
On this night, the silence is not expected or even welcome; the loud and ear-drum shattering sound of the fire-crackers is the norm. The rockets in the sky and the fireworks in every house create a melody of sound that lasts all night… and many following nights in some cases…
You can relate to this, but only if you have been a part of these festivities…
It is hard to describe; the feeling and the enigma of Diwali night is beyond what words can capture. The thundering sound of the fireworks and the glow of night-lights gets lost somewhere in the translation, the translation from one culture to another!
There are some things in life that you can learn from others’ encounters; the experience of Diwali night is not one of them!
- Life after Diwali
- A Diwali Promise
- May the Light be with you!
- The Autumn: The fall, the colors, the change, the festivals…
- Mom, where is my backpack!!!!