There was a status on Facebook about the festivals that we are celebrating. It read “There is no real difference between Ramzan, Ganesh Chathurthi and Christmas. We have lot of idols to worship. What we really need is the humanity to save this world from some really freakish people. Lets cultivate it to make it a better place to live” It left me ponder the way we celebrate festivals.
These years I can find myself dozing of till noon on a Diwali day. Dont go on a shopping spree for Ganapathi pappa on a Ganesh Chathurthi and so on. The festive feeling has really dried. Just imagine a new year without booze. How significant will it be? People want to yell, drink and what not. That makes new years a celebration and nothing else.
In the part of the world I live there were festivals. Each month had an occasion to celebrate. People who live in Tamilnadu, atleast southern Tamilnadu cannot escape being closer to a temple. One thing or other the priest will keep things going with some festivities or special prayers to have a community gathering. More than the prayers and attending recitals what always excited me was the chance to meet new people. See the new girls who has come to the locality and to be feel one in a community. I wonder this city life offers such feel to people.
Most of the people who work in MNCs has adopted American holidays as their holidays and Indian festivals as festivals. They dont have time to sit and have a handful of savories made by their family people. In a close knit community, with so many of the relatives together, parents never bothered who ate where. They knew that their kids would be fed by someone. Be it their own aunt or their neighbor granny. Those were the blessed days when the satellite channels had not penetrated the festival mood. One or two new movies or sit at home and enjoy. That was the case. It helped people to be open with each other. Talk over their problems. Feel loved. A feeling of belonging which will be nurtured for long time can be achieved by one festival day.
I can remember apart from the usual festivities, we had our temple festivals. People who are working in distant places within India or abroad make a point to take a four days holidays to attend the temple function.I dont think it was their faith in God which brought them to their native place. Not being with the family, because so many long weekends may be coming forward. But they make sure they attend this yearly function. Lot of people who come to native place, usually work as skilled labor in some distance place or even abroad. If white collars talk about the leaves not getting approved for a wedding or funeral, think about these guys. But whatever it takes they come. Whether or not they go to temple, they visit each and every one of their relatives and friends. I have seen many people breaking down when they take the first spoon of food in the community meal thinking of the departure.
Since there is no employment opportunities of educated people in interior villages, they are moving out of the villages and small towns in the dream of making it big. Most of them do so. But the price they pay is more than what they have achieved. In the metro’s the sense of belonging is getting decreased because of the race, culture and so many things. People are not able to relate to their friend/colleague’s excitement or emotion. Such festivals celebrated in good spirit will bring us closer to each other, spreading more smiles and making this world a better place to live.
Did you dance on road on April 2nd when India won the ICC World cup? Did you take part in the candle light vigils and the peace protests recently for the anti-corruption movement? Did you just came back to home with a smile of you have accomplished something? Dear reader, I urge you to think, whether it was because you got a sense of belonging or otherwise. It starts from us. Ganesh Chathurthi has passed. Gandhi Jeyanthi is on its way. So are you ready to Celebrate?