Deepavali is approaching and I take this opportunity to wish all of you a ‘HAPPY DIWALI AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR’.
I was reminded of the time when we lived in company quarters some 20 years back. I would celebrate Deepavali the traditional Tamilian way and we would bathe and wear new clothes before daybreak. There were about 6 tamilian families in the immediate neighborhood and we’d compete to see who burst the first cracker. Exchange of sweets would start around six in the morning and the first door to knock would be that of the Sinhas who lived just below our flat.
Mrs. Sinha would invariably grumble about the ruckus we created and found our Deepavali celebration very odd.
“Deepavali is a festival of lamps and is to be celebrated in the evening. You Tamilians seem to be opposite to us in so many ways”, she’d say.
Not knowing how best to defend myself, I’d stay quiet or say that we found it odd to wait till evening to burst crackers. I’d also add that since I finished celebrating Diwali in the morning I was free to prepare laddoos for her in the afternoon. Yes, on Diwali day, I had the enthusiasm to prepare laddoos for her too. Her family looked forward to the treat with a lot of eagerness.
Many years later, after they moved to another area and we were not able to meet regularly during Diwali and Holi, I stumbled upon an explanation for the difference in the time of Deepavali celebration of in the south as compared to the northern India. A friend of mine explained to me that Lord Ram after conquering Ravan crossed Tamilnadu at daybreak and reached Ayodhya in the evening and this is the reason why Tamilians celebrate Diwali in the morning and people in the north wait till evening to do the same. Well, Deepavali is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura in Tamilnadu and Lord Rama doesn’t actually come into the picture as far as I know. However my friend’s explanation seemed acceptable enough. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to offer the explanation to Mrs. Sinha and since she is no more I never will be able to pull her legs about it.
Whether it was Lord Ram’s victory or Lord Krishna’s is not an important issue. What is important is that we all have a Ram and a Ravan residing right within us and let us try to conquer the evil forces in our minds and in society by using the good side of our nature to crush evil beyond recognition and celebrate our success with carefree abandon by spreading the message of universal brotherhood. Happy Diwali once again!