Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Diwali Spirit

Caught up in the grey of contemporary life (my dissertation hangover), still sore from a not so great design submission that I made in the afternoon, tired from the previous night’s work and 2 hours of sleep, I was on my way back when my mom called up and told me it was Dhanteras. Diwali was here but nothing around me was festive. My body’s clock had been caught in the rut. There was no sense of place, of season. As Varun dropped me halfway to my place, both of us were talking about how sleepy we were, and how much more eventful the next month and a half was going to be, with final juries among other things. Covering the last leg of my journey, on a cycle rickshaw, I crossed a mall bathed in yellow light, a neighbourhood market spilling out with hawkers selling funky lamps, diyas, rangoli and what not, apartment blocks brimming with little and big trails of blue red and yellow bulbs, and also scores of happy faces, glowing in the spirit of the festival.  Diwali is to India what Christmas is to West. And Yellow is to Diwali what Red is to Christmas. I just realized the role festivals play in rejuvenating our lives periodically, marking the onset of seasons, and, in get our bodies and minds to connect with our surroundings again with the plethora of layers of mythology that enrich them. They appear to me as brilliantly designed mechanisms. And for Diwali, the tool is yellow, and it had never shone so bright before. Yellow. In the funky paper bag I’ve had with me since the weekend, my apartment where renovation just finished recently (right before Diwali), the new book that I have begun to read today, and the warm autumn morning sunshine that comforts a cold Delhi Metro commuter, who wonders whether the temperatures have been intentionally kept low for us to realize the value of the sunlight after the train goes subterranean.  realize is the best verb ever! It makes me happy. Happy Diwali!
Acknowledgements to the cycle rickshaw for making neighbourhood travel an enriching experience, with travel speeds being just right for one to watch, observe, sense and absorb the environment at the same time.
In case if you do doubt, all photographs by the author.