Intro: “Here, in India, we have the attitude and the spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together into a single family and, in the atomic age, this is the only alternative to prevent destroying ourselves”—Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History.
Many individuals visit India out of curiosity, not only as a new land of opportunity but also for understanding the oldest civilisation. After visiting length and breadth of India, one of the French tourists who later made India as his home told me that he came here as an atheist but after seeing real India he felt there must be a God. I was very inquisitive with this response. He explained, there is utter poverty, chaos, animals walking on the roads, crowds adjusting themselves in every situation, still there is a feeling of order in this society. I don’t know what is that sustains India as a country but there must be something special, he said. I think this Diwali we need to explore that special in us.
Many of us would remember that Diwali preparations use to start in our houses before Vijayadashmi. Cleanliness and preparing variety of delicacies was important part of it. It was a collective affair. Though it is waning in metros now, as houses are cleaned by maids and sweets and delicacies are provided by established brands, sharing still persists. In many parts of ‘real India’, residing in semi-urban and rural areas, celebrating this community feeling is more prevalent. In some parts even broom is worshipped as a form of Lakshmi, as we believe that cleanliness brings wealth. Another important aspect of these Diwali preparations has been sharing of food. After offering fresh delicacy to GOD, it is shared with neighbours, relatives and friends. As a child, once I remember asking my mother before taking a plate containing Diwali delicacies to our neighbour that, even when they have prepared the same things why is it necessary to share a platefull of same delicacies with them. She explained to me that rather than ‘what’ and ‘how much’, it is more important to share. I got convinced with the idea of sharing only when I saw many people across India, despite being not so rich or resourceful, happily practising the art of sharing and giving without any expectation.
Infact, it is the art of sharing that adds affection and belongingness to our festivals and make them special. They not only teach us basics of community living but also inculcate in us the balance between ‘environmental protection’ and ‘wealth creation’. So Diwali coming after the harvest season, or Holi coming at the end of winter is not by accident. The very fact that environment is deeply rooted in our Indian way of living is what is reflected in our culture and festivitals.
When we’re experiencing a general atmosphere of ‘positive change’ in the air, it is this heritage of Indianness that we should cherish. This is a small attempt by Organiser to share assorted delicacies of India with our readers so that they can understand the underlying unity in our apparently diversified culture. Happy Diwali! Happy Sharing!!!