Deepawali aka Diwali is a festival of lights and symbolizes good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Its globally celebrated by those who identify themselves as Hindu, Sikh, Jain or simply put Indians. The overall message of Diwali is the victory of good over evil. Diwali is a festival and holiday central to my life for cultural reasons. And, this is my third Diwali away from home.
It’s not always exciting to be an international student so I keep telling my friends – Diwali to me is Christmas to you. Truly speaking, I miss the cleaning rituals just before Diwali, the house decorations with marigold flowers and leaves, the lit fairy lights, earthen lamps, making rangoli in front of my house (coloured powders), the worshipping of goddess Laxmi, eating homemade sweets specially made by my mom, the fireworks, the celebration of immense happiness with my friends, relatives and extended family.
I now have very faint memories of my mom’s glowing face, her constant grumbling over ‘get ready soon’, my father’s joyful mood and his non-stop blessings. I miss it all, I miss the color, joy and human warmth. I miss my home. My house in Brisbane without lights look so incomplete to me.
So, I decided this Diwali I wouldn’t stay alone. Just before this glorious festival, I watched all the Indian Diwali advertisements and sulked and sulked a bit more. Then I thought I can do better than this.
So, I decided to invite all my friends for an Indian dinner to celebrate Diwali with them who are actually my family here in Australia. We went to an Indian Restaurant called Mirch Masala in Woolloongabba and ate delicious feasts. I narrated the story behind the celebration of the festival of lights and what it means to me. I felt nostalgic, but I had completely soaked myself in happiness as I had the opportunity to share this day with my family aka friends here in Brisbane.
I realized that this year Diwali was quite different for me and I became more deeply aware of my inner-self and more connected to the message of Diwali and its harmony in my life. My take-away keynote from this is that being an international student is tough as you have to sacrifice a lot but sharing your cultural festivities with others is immensely joyful and gives you valuable happiness.