Since the last three years me and my brother have discussed (at least on every Diwali) the idea of festivals and how they influence the lives of people, in India. That is the target here. I have no idea about anywhere else because I’ve never lived there but here, it seems people have different doings which still don’t let me make a single viewpoint about this motion. In simple words, the answer to this question is arbitrary.
Our relations with our paternal side of relatives has always had a little sine-wave configuration. We have ups, we have downs. Mostly downs. So, we’ve argued and fought so much but as my mother has always said, “Forget the feelings just for the sake of the occasion.” I don’t understand much of it but I’ve finally started to get some depth here and it feels good. I’ve learnt to talk to them and sit with them for more than 5 minutes. Today, after many years of my life I finally had a good chat with my uncle, aunt and grandmother. I never had that kind of chat with my grandfather. I still have his memories and that’s all I can cherish now. I can’t make memories with someone who isn’t around me anymore. I regret that I couldn’t understand what my mother tried to instil in me when I was young. Today I realised the idea of festivals from this perspective and it felt a little better than what I used to feel till the last year.
On the contrary, what I saw yesterday at a cousin’s home makes me shift my confidence to the latter of the notion in the title. For some, festivals are a formality. A woman came to visit my maternal aunt while we, me and my brother, were visiting them for exchanging gifts and wishes. The woman was a mutual family friend. Dehradun is like that, everyone knows everyone. This woman didn’t even drink a glass of water at their house even when my cousin persuaded her with full might. It was a glass of water, she could’ve drunk it. But she didn’t, that is how some people perceive the idea of festivals and relationships. For them, it’s a formality to even go and exchange wishes with a smile. After not drinking the water, she sat on the sofa with an undead, zombie-like expression on her face. She didn’t even small talk just for the sake of sitting. Why did she come there? Did she have to? Does the society compel her to come and gift a gift wrapped box? This incident really puts me on the side of festivals being a formality to people.
These two incidents no matter how contrasting clearly show the 50-50 divide of festivals being a chance of renewal for some while a formality for others and I still fail to get the idea. Better luck next Diwali then, I wish myself with hope of understanding more the next year.
Happy Diwali to all of you.