Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Diwali

Better late than never dude… Diwali is the Hindu New Year. I don’t really know the facts about this so don’t quote this entry in any manner what so ever. As I have stated before, I am a Sindhi. It seems every cast of Indian has their own way to celebrate this occasion. Ours is extremely fiscal oriented. Yes, we pray for money. But in all fairness we do pray for happiness too. Whatever the fuck that is.

So every year we light DIYA’S (candles) and brighten our houses to welcome the goddess of wealth, LAXMI. We do prayers in our homes and especially our offices. The ‘elders’ customarily give us some cash gifts. But recently I find my parents to be very stingy and some dumb ass youngsters look up at me with wanting eyes. The time for me to start dispensing cash has defiantly not come. For the last 2 or 3 years I have not spent Diwali with my whole family so I have not really bothered with all the prayers. This year however I was staying with my friend’s family in Ghana and they take this thing pretty seriously.

At this ceremony, images of deities were lined up on a table in the conference room and some invoice or accounts books were lined up in front of them. This is more of a gesture as most of us are using computers for our work at present. The last time I had a ceremony in my office I just set up next to my PC.

The ceremony commences with the recital of some prayers and a mixture of a red powder is made with water and flowers.

Using the mixture, we draw the Hindu swastika on every book and put prayers on each page. Back in the day my father would write the prayer by hand every book but now we get those little pink slips that have all the necessary wordage on them, and they just need to be placed in the book. What a time saver.

The ceremony usually takes about 30 minutes and everyone takes a turn holding a tray containing paraphernalia in front of the idols. It ends with this final act which I believe is unique to the Sindhi’s. In this bowl that now contains milk, water, red powder, flowers, and raw rice, there is also hidden amongst many silver coins, a few real gold ones. We each dip into the bowl, hoping to extract a gold coil and then tap it against our teeth. This is kind of a good luck for the future thing. After numerous tries I still never found the gold one. I guess it is going to be another hard year for me.

In more ways than one, it was fun to spend Diwali in Accra. I met a lot of my family that night that I had not seen in years. I also got to experience a full family prayer after so long. My Uncle even gave me quite a bit of KARCHI (pocket money). I felt like a kid again with not so many responsibilities. The rest of the night we just hung out with good friends and got extremely pissed!

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