I have been pestered by my sister into blogging this morning. Actually, pestered is no the right word. Despite living a state away, she is the human equivalent of a cattle prod! So, I’ve had to reflect upon the things occupying my mind of late. The best to come to mind is Diwali.
I have the good fortune of working at a university. My colleagues represent the amazing diversity of human culture. From India, Bangladesh, Scotland, Holland, Vietnam, England, Slovenia, America and various other countries from around the globe, my friends and colleagues bring with them an amazing wealth of experience and knowledge about things that are more than academic.
So it has come to pass that today is Diwali. The Indian celebration of good triumphing over evil within each human spirit. What a wonderful circumstance to celebrate! In the lighting of candles, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jainists all open their doors (figuratively and in some cases literally) to good spirits, good fortune and good intentions.
Along with good spirits, delicious food arrived in our staffoom today (courtesy of Aparna who is celebrating Diwali). Discussions were had about the Diwali traditions in different parts of India and Bangladesh. Aparna recieved compliments on her cooking, her stunningingly beautiful sari and her latest academic achievement.
This morning, of all mornings, when I was seething over a relatively meaningless comment from an ignorant acquaintance, I am reminded of the bigger picture. My gaze has been diverted from my navel to the delights taking place in my staff room. The essence of acceptance, of open mindedness, of selflessness, curiosity and the unifying struggle of all humans to be better, to be more, to overcome.
They’re not always this way, my colleagues. They exist within a system that encourages selfishness, singlemindedness and paranoia, but today they are a magnificent example of what multiculturalism is supposed to be. Today I am proud to know them.
It would seem then, that Diwali doesn’t just work for followers and true-believers. It works on everyone it touches. Indeed I have set a candle burning…