Celegrating Diwali is to experience the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair. Memories of diwali are fresh for most of us Indians who’ve grown up in India. I remember the days as a kid in Rajajinagar, Bangalore where early in the morning when my brother and I were tying up mango leaves on the doorways, mom and the aunties making up a beautiful rangoli over the courtyards and the streets. By evening, the rangolis get more elaborate, filled with colors, decorated with flowers and lit up with candles. I remember the fun moments of playing with firecrackers. I remember talking with friends about that very evening for several anticipatory days before and reminiscient days after Diwali.
Yesterday evening we organized a Diwali dinner for fellow Mexican friends here in Queretaro, Mexico. While trying to bring up the same flavor of Diwali by making Rangoli’s, I picked up some colored sand earlier in the day. Guests were asked to bing their own candles for the evening. Upon arrival the guests were told about Rangoli and were asked to make their own. “It is a way to worship goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth”.. was what I told them.. a way to make sure they did attempt to make one.. I thought. Well its true.. it is said that Rangolis are to bring in good luck.
I think what happened yesterday evening is worth sharing as a blog. Without the societal perception of Rangoli as a womens affair, I could see men participate and express themselves hand in hand with the women.
Neither was age a barrier. Kids jumped in excitedly watching the elders doing something that kids do. Playing with colors and expressing freely through art is deep within us. Kids love color and light, you can see it in their eyes. You can see it in the eyes of the grownups as well.
I never realized that Rangoli can be such a wonderful social experience! I never knew art such as this is a wonderful way of breaking ice between strangers. I don’t understand why this fun of making Rangoli should be reserved just for the women in India.
We might not have any more fire-crackers, we might not have the homemade sweets. Yes, we disconnected from our traditions and we are far far away from our families. What I learnt this diwali that our family is wherever we can share our love.
We surely can get together, even as total strangers to find the joys hidden in our beautiful rituals, like our folk art – Rangoli. And while we find these hidden joys together, we see in our togetherness the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair. What I learnt this Diwali is that Rangoli, our very own folk art is truly magical.. the essence of Diwali is hidden in it!