For Indian-origin Australians, Diwali is the time when the Indian in us comes to surface, writes PAWAN LUTHRA
For many of us, this time of year is a throwback to the many festive Diwalis we enjoyed back home. Newly arrived migrants try hard to replicate that same celebratory feel from India, but those of us who have lived here longer realise that now our Diwalis have to evolve, and adopt the flavours of our new home, Australia.
Of course, whichever milestone of our journey here we may have reached, the season’s inherent spirit of optimism, prosperity and happiness continues to endure. How appropriate for Diwalis in Australia, which come on just as the spring season rolls in!
Just as nature opens up, the Indian shops here wear a bright, fresh look as they stack their shelves with diyas and mithais. The jewellers and fashion shops begin promoting their latest designs. The temples spruce up in preparation for the onslaught of visitors.
The local Indian community is ready to party.
Dandiya nights bring the community together and, among much twirling and whirling and stick clashing, the spirit of Diwali reaches out at various community halls.
In cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, large-scale Diwali fairs bring the clan together. While a few years ago, there were perhaps a couple of grand Diwali events, now it appears that they are getting more localised. Diwali celebrations are filtering down to a suburb to suburb level, and even the local councils are starting to throw their weight behind these.
In Sydney, the Opera House will be lit up as a Diwali tribute this year in a wonderful new initiative. The NSW Parliament House will also reflect the festivities of the season as it does every year.
What brings forth these outbursts of light and colour at Diwali? Keeping aside the religious and mythological connotations of the occasion, the revelling really comes from the joy and security of the relationships that light up our lives.
As family and friends gather, the value of our associations and affiliations are revised, and our interactions and connections are reassessed.
Past misdemeanours are mutually forgiven and, like a home spring clean, the negative experiences are erased. An attempt is made for a fresh start in the Hindu new year.
For those unable to be larger than their egos, the remnants of unresolved conflicts from the previous years continue to linger and act as small irritants, impeding the smooth flow of daily activity.
Perhaps, a bit of introspection is necessary, to let bygones be bygones and to move forward on this journey of life.
With the young ones, it might be an idea to let them explore what Diwali means to them. For those mumbling their way through the Diwali prayers, it is easy to find English translations for Sanskrit prayers. Rather than block their access to this wonderful festival, perhaps open the door for them to understand the traditions.
Ou traditions and our culture, the Indian Australian way – this can be a headline action for this Diwali.
From the team at Indian link and from our extended family of readers and listeners, I wish you all a happy and healthy Diwali!