It’s thrilling to note the activity in the community at this time of the year.
With the festive season now in full flow, weekends are spent rushing from one celebration to another. The beauty is, they stretch across the length and breadth of the community, and based on your preference, you will find something to do and friends to enjoy it with.
For those in the party mode, the Garba evenings have been exhilarating. Like the various Durga pooja festivities, this is a chance to dress up in your best clothes and grab a group of friends and make an evening out of it. With some of these fun evenings being attended by thousands of people, one suspects it will be but a matter of time before an enterprising organiser looks at booking out the SCG or the MCG or the Gabba!
How far have these festivities come – when 20 years ago, getting 200 people to a function was a major achievement.
Kudos to the hard-working entrepreneurs – professional as well as part-time – who have stuck with their passion through those times to see the massive gatherings of the clan today.
And kudos to all those who have worked hard to create the mandirs, the gurudwaras and all the various places of worship where the communities gather to mark the religious basis of our festivals. We should not take these places for granted, rather acknowledge the early settlers of our community who fund-raised for these monuments to come up, some of them even by mortgaging their own properties.
Let’s also doff our hats to community trailblazers who organise the mammoth melas we’ve all begun to enjoy. Whereas at one time, the Diwali gatherings were held for a few hours in the local school courtyard around the Diwali weekend, today the banks of the Swan River, or Federation Square, or the parklands of Parramatta host up to 30,000 on a single day. Some organisers have taken the option of charging for entry, while others prefer to keep it free for the crowds: either way, the zeal shown by the organisers must be supported and encouraged.
Perhaps one of the ways to do this is to bring a non-Indian friend along to these gatherings and acquaint them with the Diwali festivities. Our politicians love to bring out the saris and sherwanis (anyone remembers the upturned jootis that Sam Dastyari rocked up in once?) Perhaps it’s time to introduce your friends or neighbours to an item or two of traditional Indian clothing. A short – or long – discussion on the philosophy behind Diwali could turn out to be interesting. And the mithai might be a welcome change from cheesecake and macaroons.
If getting them to join you at the Garbas or Durga pooja or the mela is difficult, why not bring Diwali to them. Many of us probably already do this, in the form of a plate of mithai and sparklers taken round to the neighbours, and candles for colleagues at work. You are spreading the Light or awareness of Diwali your way.
From all of us at Indian Link to you and yours, khushhaali aur sammriddhi. Happiness and prosperity this Diwali.