Embracing lights

Embracing lights

Diwali comes during the wet, cold winter days of the year to dispel the darkness with light.

Of all Indian festivals, none is as unique as the season of Diwali. It is that time of the year which, amidst all the celebrations, is filled with a lot of crude noise. However, an equalising factor to all the explosive noise that this season evokes, is the soothing effects of the diyas (lamps) that are so specially associated with the festival of lights. 

The fascination I took to the simple diyas of the 1970s’ and 80s’ and the radiance that glowed from them, are still fresh in my mind. I recall how my neighbour’s home would be filled with many glimmering diyas starting all the way from the front yard into the portico and culminating in the pooja room where all the decorated idols grandly stood encased in the sweet fragrance of incense and freshly cut flowers.

 These diyas, no doubt, have undergone a face-lift over the years. Today, diyas come in more attractive and colourful designs. There are scented diyas and diyas of creative shapes and sizes, which are an added novelty of the season. 

Associated with fesitival of lights are the eye catching fireworks unique to Diwali. Innovative firecrackers that emit much light sans the noise, like flower pots, chakras and sparklers, are a visual treat of the season. 

So mesmerising are these colourful flames and sparks, that a friend of mine who lives in the United States affirmed nostalgically that even the July 4th fireworks show meant to clebrate the American Independence Day could never come quite close to the Sivakasi flowerpots!

The fact that Diwali comes during the wet, winter days of the year only goes with the core idea of the festival, which is light dispelling darkness. As the days begin to get shorter, the nights a bit longer and the dusk sets in a bit earlier than the previous months, the Diwali diyas illuminate the dark horizon, dissipating all darkness.  

Symbolically too, what brings much meaning to Diwali is, perhaps, the spirit that lights up the season. The overall solidarity that gets neighbours to exchange sweets, enthuses children to get together to burst crackers, joins families at loggerheads to set aside differences and sit together at the table of harmony, and has people handing out Diwali bonuses and other complimentary gifts to workers and others in bonhomie, are truly the icing on the Diwali cake.

Diwali today has crossed borders in a global village and is widely celebrated the world over. From Michigan to Millan and from Queensland to Qatar, the Indian population, on Diwali will join hands and light up diyas to celebrate the victory of good over evil, light over darkness!

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox