Like every year at this time, today I’m thinking back to the sweet scent of jasmine and rose petals, the look of vibrant traditional attire, and the sound of friends and family laughing over sweet and savory treats. I’ve worked at Public Storage in California for 24 years, but today I’m reminiscing of my years in Mumbai and the Diwali season that starts today. Everyone celebrates the five-day “festival of lights” with candles and fireworks. It’s just one big block party, and it’s my favorite holiday!
As with celebrations in the U.S., friends and family get together dressed in our best. We light our homes with candles, tea lights and vibrant paper lanterns to welcome the Gods and begin a new year. This is like our Christmas. Everyone gathers at the dining table to enjoy decadent meals, like rich butter chicken, deep-fried samosas, and sweet and creamy desserts. We exchange presents and watch fireworks.
I practice most Diwali rituals (can’t really have a firework show in my backyard) here in the U.S. with my grown kids, and I hope that the new memories we build around this holiday and its true significance will be passed on to future generations. To me it represents the victory of good over evil, that as long as one is diligent and honest, what’s right and virtuous will forever triumph.