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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali everyone. Light the lamps!

Obama is the first US president to recognize this worldwide holiday.

I still remember it this way... in two striking images.

Mysore Palace illuminated (image from Wikipedia)
 As it happened, Diwali began not long after we arrived in our new college town. Thus it was a rather overwhelming introduction to a new culture, as people were very generous in inviting us to celebrations; sensory overload, but highly enjoyable! 

At every Diwali event we attended, we were urged by our hosts to make the trip to Mysore City to see the Maharaja's palace "illuminated" and so we went - and it was indeed an unforgettable sight. I was delighted to find a photo of it in Wikipedia this year (above). 

Thus my memory of the holiday is curiously dual: on the one hand, the overwhelming magnificence of the Maharajah's Palace all outlined in electric lights - and on the other, the lovely, sweet sight of small, very humble clay lamps in every window of all the villages we passed along the way.

Years later, I still treasure my own small lamp. It's like this, but in black clay, from my other home, the one in South India. Happy Diwali this day and every day.

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