Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My first Diwali away from home!!!

Diwali is the most important festival in India. Every Diwali I have been always at home. But this time I was supposed to be in Brazil at the time of Diwali. I became nervous. But then I decided I will only miss the people and not the festival. So I stared with preparations for Diwali well a month before. Enthusiasm started flowing in nerves as it flows in India and this was really special because I was going to celebrate it well away from my country and culture but in my own way!!

I used to do a "yagya" every Diwali. It required naturally dried cow-dunk. There was a lot of that on site in Paracuru. I grabbed one of that and without getting noticed by anybody I kept it in hotel room. I brought candles as the replacement to "Diyas". Then I also got "aggarbatties". I went out for mango leaves and noted a location from where I can have them.
"The Toran"
Then the day "Dhantrayodashi" came and I put mango leaves on the gates of my hotel room. This was crazy thing for hotel cleaning staff. They could not control their laugh but then I explained them that it is a part of our culture. I went to market in evening, purchased a notebook and a pen. Next day I took printout of "Maa Saraswati, Maa Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha" together and pasted it on the front page of notebook. In evening I lighted the candles and prayed as per rituals to Maa Lakshmi to celebrate "Chhoti Diwali". I have been peaceful in Diwalis since few years. So although crackers were available, I did not buy them.
On the day of "Lakshmipoojan", I took off from work. Took an "Abhyang snan" waking up early in morning and started with prayers and mantras. Then I went to market to purchase things for yagya and pooja. I brought five types of fruits, five types of flowers, red roses, honey, curd, milk, suger, dry fruits, etc. After I came home, I asked hotel staff for heating the butter as I was knowing that I will not be able to get "Ghee" here.
"The aadhunik yagya-kund"
I decided to close the windows and do yagya inside the room as I saw expressions of hotel staff after they saw mango leaves!! But as I used butter instead of "ghee", it made a lot of smoke and soon I needed to open the windows and they could just imagine that my room was on fire!!! I explained them with great efforts that it is not an accident and I mean to do this!!! Really it was not at all a good idea!! The filters of AC of the room needed to be cleaned, several times later!!
"Chooti Diwali""The yagya pooja-Badi Diwali"
Later in the evening I performed the "Lakshipoojan" and I got a great satisfaction. Although I was far from home and people, I have not missed the great day!! It has been very special Diwali as I did it in full swing as I wanted too!!