As I took my smartphone in my hand to give the world a ‘sneak peak’ into my Diwali through my stories and snaps, I looked at everyone’s lives. From wearing Sarees to flaunting designer clothes. From getting limited edition watches to gifting cars. From playing cards to buy a new iPhone. My friends, family, and acquaintances had done everything. As the stories opened from a circle to a 5.5-inch screen, I realized that everybody had a fabulous Diwali, online.
I remember having an assignment in school, in the fourth or fifth standard where I had to write an essay in school. We had to write all about our Diwali celebrations. Everyone wrote about gifts, lights, sweets, and relatives; completely ignoring the reason which led to the celebration of this festival. Amidst Diwali sales and Bonanza offers, we have somewhere forgotten the actual reason behind Diwali being such a big deal.
In the present day scenario, culture, which was once the core of our ethos, has turned alien. Today, aesthetics has replaced culture. Everything and everyone have to be special, so much so that the actual reason for celebrating Diwali is forgotten.
We all know that Diwali is the ‘festival of lights’ but for what reason?
It marks the return of Lord Rama from the 14-year exile that he took away from Ayodhya. He returned after 14 years with his wife, Sita and his brother, Lakshman to the Kingdom of Ayodhya.
To mark his advent to his own land, people of Ayodhya left no corner dark to celebrate this occasion. Not only this, this festival marks the victory of ‘Truth and Righteousness’ over ‘Falsehood and farce’. The higher meaning and purpose is to illuminate our inner selves before we decorate our houses with fancy lights.
With every second advertisement suggesting new ways to celebrate Diwali, people have started adopting the same. Right from throwing all the garbage away to buying high-end electronic appliances, people do it all.
We swipe card and encash offers, little do we realize the significance and the meaning of the festival, to rise above the inner desire of falsehood and rise to be our most righteous selves. But hardly anyone thinks about all the enlightenment of the inner self and what not. What matters is the show-off, after all, it’s the festivals!
This is mostly because thanks to the commercialization of festivals the face value has changed today. People constantly feel this pressure to earn better, not for their betterment, but to increase their spending power and look good in the eyes of others.
What we don’t realize is the fact that what might be garbage for us, can be useful for someone else. A toy car, with a wheel or two less, will still give a street urchin the same amount of happiness that it once gave to a kid who came to buy it in a BMW. An old shirt, with a missing button, will help an orphan find his new set of clothing. An old school bag can get an orphan his much-needed friends.
The stack of gifts you have on your dining table or the number of money envelopes you’ve sent to your loved ones are all secondary. The crux of every festival is inculcating a value system, strengthening the moral structure in every individual and bringing you closer to your roots and yourself. So, keep the Swiss chocolates away for a while, keep your iPhone away, make an effort to get everyone you love, in one room. Sit with them as you eat ‘motichoor ke laddoo’, play cards and enjoy the music of the Golden Era.
Happy Diwali, my friend.