Friday, October 20, 2006

Well lit memories...

The humble streets that had seen Sagar grow up were now posh neighborhoods. His eyes lit up with amazement as he passed by one wonderfully designed apartment building after another when he returned home the first time. He was at a strange zone where he no longer could distinguish between his past and his present. Everything seemed to have changed so quickly that his attitude of remaining simple no longer held context. He was now a part of a more sophisticated social fabric that he could not run away from.

His roots are connected to patches of earth where happiness has no connection to wealth. His beginnings are made of patterns where satisfaction does not find source in material. Being together and spending time with family is one of the only memories he has left worth mentioning. Every year he would be almost embarrassed to carry the clay idol of Lord Ganesha bare foot across the crowded market place in a steel plate with uncooked rice in it. He would find visiting children annoying when they would come up and enquire if his house had Ganesha’s idol in it. He was frustrated at the never ending beeline of relatives who would come and appreciate his mother’s fine art work during Dussehra. The whole backstage workload of having to get the boxes down and unpacking the thousands of dolls and accessories would make him bitter. On many an occasion he would find a reason to get out of the house to escape helping his family during such festivities. He would reluctantly follow his father and brother into the front yard to burst a cracker during Diwali. The sound and debris associated with his father’s excited freestyle dancing would make him run back into the house. During the Sankranti festival he would detest the thought of going to every house in his street to distribute sugarcane and sesame seeds. ‘I don’t want to do it!’ he would yell back at his patient mother who would almost beg him to carry on tradition. The lack of a daughter, she would say, was a lifelong pain.

Times changed and so did his attitude with such annual festivities. With age he became more tolerant than careless. He would go along for the ride just to avoid being yelled at. He would help out just to prevent his father from reading his frustration. Being an open book no longer seemed endearing.

Tomorrow is Diwali again. Another year for Sagar to send across dozens of electronic greeting cards with animated lighting and pleasant words. One more occasion for him to exchange greetings with those he considers his own. This time, however, he does not do it because he has to. He does it because he wants to.

His alien host is filled with gloomy clouds instead of the bright blue he remembers. His next door neighbors know nothing about Diwali’s enthusiasm. His friends and colleagues do not understand the need to dress up and burn paper filled with explosives. But Sagar does. He now longs for those warm evenings when he would help his mother light a flower pot. The smell of burnt gunpowder and lazy clay pots with dying lamps would bring a familiar peace to his mind. He now reminiscences about the ‘10000-wala’ firecracker chain that would thunder for what seemed like eternity. His lonely mind is now filled with images of friends dropping by with sweet boxes with golden ribbons and a genuine smile. Moments etched in his nostalgia that reflect his journey.

Yes. Sagar now cares. This Diwali his festive season is filled with these well lit memories. He now looks out the window of his apartment into the pouring rain and sees bright little lamps burning in the distance. He sees his family waving to him from across the foreign sheet of relentless thunder.

He smiles and waves back.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and well lit Diwali / Deepavali this year. Play Safe & Stay Safe.


5 reflections:

Prashanth CM said...

Happy Depawali to you Shakri :)

Abhijeet said...

Hi Shakri:

Wonderfull articles, very comphrehensive and live .

It was really fun reading this dewali article.

It resembles human tendancy very well.

A boy next door who used to refuse the tradition at one time,, but after knowing the facts of life he realizes that life is not just following the others but also nourishing our own roots. Our traditions which has lots of meaning in it self.

Keep it up!! Waiting for your next article.

Happy Dewali!!


shakri said...

Thank you Abhijeet for the kind words. Your response has captured the true essence of the message I was trying to send.

Wishing you a great festival season too. Have a good one!

Anonymous said...

Awesome piece of write- up! Living in an alien land myself can totally relate to your article.

ps: just a small correction in the following line
'During the Ugadi festival he would detest the thought of going to every house in his street to distribute sugarcane and sesame seeds.'
I guess the festival here is 'pongal/sankranthi'

shakri said...

Thank you Anonymous. And yes, you are right. The festival is Sankranti and not Ugadi. My mistake. Thank you for correcting that.

I am glad you were able to relate with my tale. Never gets easy for some of us like Sagar, I suppose.