Years ago, the December of the year we moved to Chicago, we sent out a Christmas and New Year's message entitled "Merry Christmas from the land of 'Happy Holidays'". It seemed bizarre that in a predominantly Christian country everyone would be wishing each other 'happy holidays', living in mortal fear of offending someone celebrating a festival other than Christmas.
My secretary at the time was mortified that we were sending out Christmas cards to our customers. "But you're not a Christian!" she asked, "doesn't this bother you?" "No", I replied, "Hindus have more than enough festivals to make up the difference, so I'm perfectly happy wishing people Merry Christmas in December".
Eight weeks from now Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists will be wishing each other Merry Christmas across Mumbai, if not all of India. For now everyone has just finished wishing each other Happy Diwali, in person and via text messages. It's when my countrymen and -women get poetic, or try to, via text messages:
"Many Millions of lamps
illuminate ur life with
Endless joy, Prosperity,
Health and Wealth forever.
Wishing u and ur family -
HAPPY DIWALI !!! -
but also, from a twenty - something year old:
"Hey, Happy Diwali!!!"
Nobody wishes you 'more consideration in traffic' by the way, 'less car horning' or "I won't jump the queue when behind you". It's all love, peace and happiness gifted and imposed from above, somehow materializing in your apartment.
It's Sunday, and therefore an airless day. Go to any petrol pump to have your tires pumped and you will be told by the attendant, 'aaj hava nahin hai', today there is no air. Why?? These are left overs from Indira Gandhi's days, when bizarre rules attempted to govern what was and wasn't allowed, what you could and couldn't produce, what you could and couldn't import. That era has so permeated our behaviour that we still have 'airless Sundays', that we only operate one elevator at a time in the building when there are two. It is the umpteenth clash of the old and the new India. Airless Sundays vs the IT sector that provides 24/7 support to the global economy.
Anyway, for now peace has returned. There's a pumpkin - banana bread in the oven, and Beethoven's 6th is playing.
Wish u and ur families a vry Happy Sunday full of Joy, Peace and Luv.
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Btw, the banner photo was taken from our holiday home outside of San Gimignano at 6.20 am. What light! It lasted all of five minutes.