Posts Tagged ‘celebration’

Christmas Holidays

December 21, 2012

As an Indian settled abroad for many years, Diwali is the one time in the year that most of us NRIs miss home the most. For me, personally, Diwali through my childhood was the most special and fun time. All my cousins would come to visit and stay with us. There would be lots of fun, masti, and laughter. And with all the crackers, the yummy food, and the celebrations; it was a time when as kids one really had a great time.

But why am I talking about Diwali when it’s just gotten over? Well because here in the US, Christmas is upon us. And the kind of celebrations, the holiday mood people are in, is exactly like that of Diwali back in India. People start preparing well in advance for Christmas. We buy gifts for friends and family; there are lots of parties leading up to Christmas, just like there would be leading up to Diwali. In many ways, Christmas here, is very much the Diwali of the West.

NRIs like myself get a chance to participate in a really popular festival, at the same time, recreate some of the Diwali magic of home, albeit, through a different festival. My children have been born and brought up here in the US, so for them Christmas is very much their Diwali. Their enthusiasm, their parties, their mingling with friends; each aspect reminds both of us parents of our own childhoods from Diwali time; mine in Delhi, Anita’s in Kolkata. In fact for Anita, it’s even more enjoyable in a way because Kolkata always had a very active Christmas scene, and here in NYC, the Christmas capital of the world; it just takes things to a whole new level from her Christmas times spent up and down the wonderfully lit and festive Park Street of Kolkata.

All in all, Christmas may be a Western festival, but living here for so many years, and for different reasons; it has become our own festival too. We have adopted it, and it has adopted us. And it makes for a very happy time!

Ganesh Chaturthi

September 20, 2012

Ganesh Chaturthi is a time for celebration, especially in Mumbai where I was born and spent all my childhood. I remember our colony coming alive when it was time for the divine guest to come to our humble homes. The entire muhalla would be brimming with excitement. A mix of devotion, faith, and hope would take over. The best part was the fact that everyone enjoyed this festival – children and elders alike. Ganpati bappa moriya was the phrase one heard through those magical 10 days. All that yummy food, the song & dance, and the final farewell to the deity through visarjan in the ocean; it was too much excitement, and a time for love, laughter, fun, family, and friends!

So why am I talking about all this? Well because it is that time of the year once again. And for the past 15 years that I have been living and working abroad, I thoroughly miss the festival. All my friends, family, cousins, and that overwhelming feeling that took over us during this period is missing here. Not that I don’t celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in London, in fact we have a very strong and close knit Indian community. Each year we still bring the Lord home with a lot of excitement and happiness. But it’s not the same. It cannot compare with the smell of my home, the spirit of the city of Mumbai during Ganpati.

Nevertheless, my fortunate financial circumstances here at least give me the immense satisfaction of contributing to the organization of Ganpati celebrations back home in my colony. My parents are still there, as are all our family friends. And each year, I remit money to them and ensure that Ganpati is both beautiful and grand. All the way here in London I know that Ganesh Chaturthi, even if I’m not physically present, is being celebrated with full enthusiasm and spirit back home in India.

Ganpati Bappa Moriya!



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