Happy Diwali – A celebration abroad…without fireworks

Happy Diwali to ALL – Home and Abroad!

Happy Diwali
Happy Diwali

Over the years, while living overseas, the Diwali day has become just like any other other Indian festival day. You don’t really celebrate it, especially if it falls during a week-day when everybody is at work or school. So, what we do? We say ‘Happy Diwali’, just like we say Happy Holi, Happy Janmashtami, Happy Gurupurab…, but it doesn’t mean much. It is just like saying ‘Happy Holi’ instead of the exchange of the real colors during the Holi festival.
And sometimes, especially if it is on the week-end, we get together and celebrate with food and drinks. The fireworks are ‘optional’, mostly forgotten…

Everyone knows what Diwali symbolize; we say it all the times when we explain it to our ‘non-Indian’ colleagues and friends:
‘Diwali symbolize the victory of Good over Evil, Light over Dark…’ We have memorized it, just like little kids memorize the multiplication tables in the school, without paying any attention to the meaning.
The meaning of Diwali is not lost in translation; it is lost over time and over physical distance of countries far away from India! Continue reading “Happy Diwali – A celebration abroad…without fireworks”

Happy Diwali – Drink, Dine and Dance!

Happy Diwali
Happy Diwali

Diwali – the festival of lights, the king of the all the Indian festivals. There is nothing more festive and more celebrated than Diwali in India.

You have to be in India to understand and experience this festival. A few candles and some firework – that’s nowhere c;lose to the actual Diwali. But, we are not in India; we have our own style of celebrating Diwali abroad.

All around the globe, Indians celebrate Diwali festival, but in our own way! The families and friends get together to drink and dine, to party and dance. Seems familiar? Well, that is how we celebrate almost everything abroad – by drinking, dining and dancing! Be it a wedding, a birthday party, even the Holi festival.. or anything in-between …. we never pass on an excuse to drink, dine and dance!!

‘Festival of Lights’ is an understatement to describe this celebration in India. But, then again, we are not in India. The euphoria of Diwali, the traditions of the day, the competing fireworks late into the nights are hard to describe, even if you try.   The feeling and enigma of Diwali is beyond what words can narrate. The thundering sound of the fireworks and the glow of night-lights gets lost somewhere in the translations, the translations from Indian culture to the life abroad! Continue reading “Happy Diwali – Drink, Dine and Dance!”

May the Light be with you!

The light – the source of life. The light is the origin of every living thing. Light is the foundation of this universe. Without the warmth of sun, this galaxy would be frozen and lifeless.

A seed needs light to burst out of ground – to defy gravity and grow into a giant tree. A newborn needs light for the life support. A frozen and still pond waits all winter for the touch of the spring, for the warm sun-rays, to melt back into fluid water, water that supports life for all creatures – on earth or under water.

The light enables our sight, makes us see things. Without light we are missing the most important human sense. It is impossible to imagine a universe without the ability to see.

There is no such thing as dark; dark is just absence of light – absence of a necessity. That is why in many cultures around the globe including in India, light is always compared to knowledge, and darkness to ignorance.

Light is something we should celebrate every day. Light is the blessing we often ignore, often overlook.

Today on the auspicious day of Diwali, let’s celebrate light. After all, it is a festival of light – a festival that signifies knowledge, warmth and life. Continue reading “May the Light be with you!”

A Diwali Promise


While celebrating and enjoying Diwali, you should make a promise, or two.
On this day, you might want to make a personal resolution too:

Try something new, something that is not you.
Walk a mile, or run a few; it’s good for soul, and body too.
Walk in someone else’s shoes; before judging them.
Look inside; the mirror often lacks the full picture of you.
Share something; there is always something worth giving.
Help someone; look closer, someone always needs you.
Travel and go see places, there is a world to see;
Tell a story-  an ugly, a good one, and true ones a few. Continue reading “A Diwali Promise”

Diwali in India – a foreign concept abroad!

The new generation overseas barely relates to Diwali experiences!

Happy Diwali
Happy Diwali

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… Continue reading “Diwali in India – a foreign concept abroad!”