Diwali Celebrations by NRI's

Vishali Srikanth, IIK Young Reporter
Monday, October 16, 2017

Over the years,living overseas, the Diwali day has become just like any other other Indian festival day. we don’t really celebrate it, especially if it falls during a week-day when everybody is at work or school. We say ‘Happy Diwali’, just like we say Happy Holi, Happy navratri , Happy pongal…, but it doesn’t mean much. It is just like saying ‘Happy Holi’ instead of playing with 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’, but 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 those little kids who memorize the shapes at school, without paying any attention to the meaning.

The meaning of Diwali is not lost in translation; it is lost over time and over geographical distance of countries far away from India!
Diwali is special day in the Indian culture; it is a divine day for the Indians. No one disputes it; no one should. Growing up as a child in kuwait, I did not care for any meaning of Diwali or what it symbolized. The fireworks were enough for me; enough motivation to look forward to this day, to ‘celebrate’ it in the real sense. The day filled with sweets and all kinds of food and the night, yes, the real treat, the night full of fireworks. We used to count days to the Diwali night, just like kids count days to Christmas in the Western countries.

Different places, different times, different ways of lives…but the same anticipation.

Even though at a small scale, the tradition of Diwali is still alive and well, especially for grown-ups. And, that’s mainly because we know what we are missing!! ‘Festival of Lights’ is an understatement to describe this celebration in India. Lighting few diyas doesn’t exactly make the cut as the thunderous roars of laxmi bomb set off secretly. Firecrackers are an essential part of Diwali, without it’s just bland. The darkest night sky of the Hindu calendar is dotted with millions of dazzling fireworks which is a spectacular sight to behold.

As far as the Indian kids raised outside India, Diwali is not a big deal. And, that’s mainly because they have not experienced it firsthand. They just don’t know what the whole fuss is about! Because, we don’t have the experience of night long fireworks, the crazy competitions of fire-crackers and the rivalries with the neighbors… And, we still have to go to the school on Diwali day, and the next day!!

Diwali time is definitely a sensitive time, but it also gives a way to think about how lucky it is to be born in such a culturally rich country. The excitement of Diwali, the various rituals, the competing fireworks late into the nights are hard to describe, even if you try. Ask any NRI and they will shake their head in agreement-the feeling and enigma of Diwali celebrated in India is beyond what words can narrate.

Vishali Srikanth
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017
I wish every one a Very Happy Diwali!

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