Diwali-The Festival of Lights..I woke up early in the morning-thanks to my bajuwalla building kids, who for some reason known to them alone, thought it would be clever to start bursting crackers at 4 in the morning.
I had the Abhyang Snan (untranslatable in English..it loses its Essence when I do that. Amazing how language does that. eg.Try translating "Hum kaffan mein bhi aapka intezaar karte rahein." It would be something like "I kept waiting for you in my grave.")
Anyway, for people who don't know, it involves applying oil on your body and taking a hot bath with a fragrant powder called Utni..After this there is a ritual where you crush a cucumber-like vegetable called Karta under your feet while the ladies in your house take your Aarti.
This was followed by a breakfast of Poha and Diwali farsan-sev, chivda, laddoo.I met my neighbours,wished them and touched their feet, seeking blessings.Sweets were distributed amongst neighbors. (I ended up with about 6 kilos of sweets.) Some were dressed in new clothes..
In the evening we had Laxmi Pujan and a huge Rangoli was made on the landing of our floor.
Now, you have probably realized that I am one sentence away from making this the quintessential Std. 5 essay on "Diwali".(That sentence being "Diwali is my Favorite Festival!")
What I want to focus on though, is an incident which occurred at around 11 that day.I happened to have some work and had to go out. I caught a bus and another proof of it being Diwali met my eyes.Everyone was dressed in new clothes (the shiny,silky,reserved-for-festivals-and-weddings kind)..probably visiting their relatives.
Amongst all these people the only people who didn't have a holiday and were working even on a festival day were the Bus Driver and Conductor.Working even while everyone around you is enjoying a holiday is quite a frustrating thing to do..and nice on your part too.
Some sudden inspiration (probably the thought of them having to work while their families being at home.And having seen a school girl thanking the driver some weeks back when on my way to college) made me want to thank them and wish them a "Happy Diwali" while getting down.However I pondered over this throughout my journey.."What if he thinks I am being cheeky?".."And what if he gets angry,wouldn't I just spoil things more for him then?"..
So, while getting down I had those moments,where you hesitate to take a step, turn around and seem like you are going to say something...but dont..you step forward and then again you turn around and say it all too fast.
I didn't even wait to see if he had heard or not..I just got down hurriedly,feeling embarrassed..walked two paces at a time,taking out my cell-phone and calling some imaginary friend of mine acting as if my life depended on it..(I know we all have those moments.Facebook has around 2000 likes for the same.)
I come to the point now-"Are we in an era where politeness and basic goodwill is embarrassing?"
Why did I feel so embarrassed after doing that?
Why don't people generally thank the bus drivers, rickshaw pullers and taxi drivers?
Why do college students only rarely wish their professors?
Why does just smiling at a familiar person become such a bother?
We are just too ashamed to do that. Funny..since we have learnt about being polite right at Kindergarten level. Explains why the school girl I mentioned earlier bothered to thank the driver while the rest of the passengers (including me sadly..) didn't bother to.Why,do students suddenly lose this sense after entering college?
And even double-standards follow.The very same people will thank almost everyone at a McDonald's outlet..or at a mall or when at the Airport..Why?Do we suddenly get this sense again when at such places?
One might argue that at such places..people are bound to understand and appreciate what you are doing and why you are doing it..while at local places people might not care..
And thats the whole point..the OVERALL attitude is like that..That's why no one seems to care at these places and that's why we feel embarrassed all the more..and that's why we don't do it..and again that's why people aren't used to it..and maybe that's why thy don't care.
I just happened to notice this on the day of Diwali-the day when we spread goodwill and peace and brotherhood..And it makes sense,doesn't it? I realized where I am going wrong on the very day meant to symbolize it.. :)