Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Diwali

On Diwali, when I was a kid, Maa would ask me to keep my door and windows open as I sleep. She would say, “We should not miss any chance if Lakshmi plans to walk into our house.” Well I don’t really know if Lakshmi ever walked into my room in last so many Diwali nights. In fact I don’t even know or care if she exists. But what has remained with me is the idea of open doors and windows.

Today, as people around me prepare for the festival once again, I wonder what are we gonna open ourselves to? May be to a new understanding of gender and the concept of its fluidity? May be challenging the status quo of caste, religion, class or race? May be opening up to our dream career and saying no to oppressive nature of doing a job that others would want us to? May be the courage to say I-love-you to someone we are deeply in love with? May be to a little more care, a little more compassion and a little more respect for people around… and of course some for ourselves?

Today, Maa is not around to ask me to keep the door and the windows open. But I still do. I wish I could tell her, may be this was the only thing in the entire procession of Diwali that I loved the most. In all these years, laying on my bed, wide awake – who the hell can sleep anyways in the noise of endless crackers – I have been staring out into the space and have wondered of things as random as stars, people, rats, mosquitoes, sex, fantasies, food, the gods and the goddesses and everything in between. It has offered me an endless possibility of who I can become… and who others can be. A sense of vastness to this amazingly vast world we exist in that a closed room could have never offered to me. An open embrace to all that may happen… and may not happen. An acceptance to the fact that my son may be gay or my daughter may choose a different religion than mine or none at all and it’s okay. An acceptance to my failures, my experiments, my trials and errors… and of course my celebrations of my success and achievements.

As I retrospect today, I realize, besides everything else that could or could not, what certainly has walked into my life is a sense of wonder. And I have come to believe that more than most other things, it’s this sense of wonder that makes this life so intriguing and beautiful. With each person around us, there’s this amazing possibility of a whole new world… or a whole new understanding of our existing world. So this Diwali, what are you opening yourself to?

Happy Diwali!