18 October, 2006

Festivals and Childhood

Festivals bring in lots of happiness and unity among the community. The advantage of having grown up in a country like India is we cultivate the habit of understanding the festivals of different religions. Having grown up, I realise how we have celebrated so many festivals in India, without any communal violence. We develop tolerance in admitting the festivals of other religions and observing them too.

Most of us would have studied in Christian schools, and we come to know about Christ and Christmas from our young age. Though Muslims are a minority in India, we know the importance of Ramadhan. I still remember celebrating it in my muslim friend's house. Hindus have numerous festivals. When I look back, I wonder how we have celebrated various festivals with equal tolerance for every religion. I think it is a great experience to grow in a multi lingual and muti cultured place. Though we had only a few Muslim families near my home town, everyone regarded their festivals and showed equal respect. Even today every festival of different religions are celebrated in their own and unique way in a grand manner in India.

Recently we had Dassera and Krishna Jayanthi. Just few days are left for Diwali. This year it is a unique experience for us since this is our first year in London. My children are equally excited in celebrating them. As children we have enjoyed a lot celebrating those festivals. I remember just before the arrival of Diwali, there used to be talk about the estimates of purchase of crackers among boys. I bet every boy would have talked about the amount that is being spent. Even yesterday one of my Sikh friend was talking about the money he spent during childhood. Childhood memories are great. They live with us. I hated to buy a toy gun, and the roll cap. That was the last preference and I have never used it unless it was gifted. In most of the houses, they are the last ones to be used. There were few girls in our street, who had all the guts to burst Lakshmi Vedi and Atom Bomb. It was great fun in seeing everyone holding their big silk skirts (Pattu pavadai) and running here and there to burst crackers. I still cannot forget one of the guest in my neighbours house, fired a rocket without keeping the bottle on the ground firmly, and the rocket hit him on his forehead and came into the front side of my house. My friends used to tell stories about parachute crackers, which used to go up in the air burst with colours, and then a parachute coming out of it. One of my classmate, added his imagination and told us that he saw a real man coming out of it. He was meant to tell exaggerated stories (Peela). His grandfather was a devotee of Lord Muruga and punished my friend for his mischief by putting him in a garage. My friend was hungry and it seems he said 'Muruga' and then couple of banana fell from the roof. This was his degree of exaggeration (Peela). Indeed it is a pleasure to think about those incidents now. Everyone of us were allowed to come in our 'Diwali dress' and the whole school used to be in the new dress on the next day to Diwali. Someboys used to be too naughty and try to ignite those powders of unburst crackers and burn their hand. After a certain age, we were interested in the collection (Vasool). The relative who gave us more was liked by all children and it was fun to count those money and keep them in our kiddy bank. Festivals, like Dassera, Krishna Jayanthi (Janmastami), Saraswathi Pooja, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Pongal all were unique in their own way. Who could forget Dassera (Kolu) for the different dolls displayed, and the park accompanying the Kolu? Each one of us had our own way of keeping the park. I remember a relative of mine who was very creative and used to keep their park according to the latest trend. One of my friend's father was very creative and he used to design fountains, and hills in those parks beautifully. The small treats Sundal cannot be forgotten. They were distributed to everyone who visited the house and used to be of different varieties for those ten days.

We thought it is not good to deprive our children of those joy and celebrate the festivals as far as we could. Recently we celebrated Krishna Jayanthi. My daughter was very thrilled to know about the festival and we drew little steps of the Lord Krishna in front of our house (See the photo). It drew attention of everyone who walked in front of our house. My neighbour who is British, noticed it when she returned from work and was wondering at it. Later when we gave her sweets and seedai she was excited to know about it and appreciated our culture.

In London, the schools are aware about the different festivals. My children are encouraged to talk about the festival and come in their special dress to school. Parents are invited to come and talk about their culture and festivals at school to children. I have volunteered to read and tell Tamil Stories, as well as talk about Festivals with Videos to the children of different languages, and religion. I could see plenty of shops selling fireworks in their shops. My neighbour was saying that Diwali celebrations in London is great. We are going to witness this year. Until then wish you all a Happy Diwali.

02 October, 2006


I have never liked to be tagged. Something which I felt was kiddish (probably since outgrown). I am now tagged by Chandrika to write about meme. I was thinking about it all these days whether to write or personally apologize to Chandrika and stay away. But thinking otherway, to be in the group with fellow bloggers , I decided to go ahead without tagging anyone.

I am an ordinary person, married, and responsible for two kids who are in the pictures in school uniform and then with me.

I said that I will visit only one girl's house for seeing bride and will marry her. I am happy that I kept it.

I want the world to live peacefully without any war, and shower more love and care among fellow human beings.

I wish to be of some help in creating a good society.

I regret for not being next to those loved ones who long for our company back home.

I hear good music from Carnatic to Rap and Hip-hop to keep myself in good mood and happy.

I dance to make my children happy.

I am with my hands when I take my Nikon FM2 camera. I have seen many people through my lenses.

I sing when my family closes their ears and when my neighbours are away on holidays.

I cry deep in my heart when I see poor and sick children. I melt when I see orphans and innocent children wounded and die during wars.

I am not deaf to hear sorrows, dumb to talk about sufferings, and blind to see beautiful things.

I write about the things which affect me in order to remember after ages.

I confuse rarely.

I need more place in my heart to have more love and affection to shower on those who need.

I value my parents, elders, good friends, good books and good thoughts.

I think the world still has a lot of good people. Blogging is helping me to be in touch with like minded people.

I hope poverty will be out one day, and life on earth will be a life on heaven.

I laugh at jokes, comedy shows, and comedians of any languages.

Chandrika, thank you for tagging me. Marutham I shall write about your tag shortly.