13-Nov-2012

Happy Diwali


Last Saturday we went for the Diwali party at our condo

We met around 15 Indian families all in their Ekta-Kapoor serial finery

We ate the spread comprising of Indian food including the filmi gajjar ka halwa 

We watched various kids and some enthusiastic middle-aged ladies perform to Bollywood music

We had a blast.

Clearly, it is time to eat the humble pie. In my long ruminations about finding a condo, I had pondered upon the wisdom of finding a place run over by Indians. A few weeks later, I am wiser. While I still shudder at the thought of going for Satsangs every Saturday, I must admit that it is nice to go for a Diwali party.

The story begins when we moved into our house under the impression that the condo was mainly inhabited by Japanese and a few Europeans. A few days later, a friend told us about someone who lived in the condo and who had served time in the same organization as me several years earlier. Using this rather flimsy excuse of familiarity, D and I immediately went over and introduced ourselves and came back with a lot of practical info. Had we waited to get to know our neighbours better and then began to find out neighbourhood information, it would have taken us a really long time. A network does toss up information much faster

The same ex-colleague cum current-neighbour also told us about the Diwali party and we decided to sign up.

I have seldom attended functions organized by apartment complexes. Mostly because the older I got, the more boring they seemed. Children chasing each other in circles while the adults eyed each other politely and entered into the most boring conversations ever. Besides, does anyone in urban India actually take the effort to create a bond with neighbours anymore?

Over here, it is different. For one, there is the beneficial effect of knowing your neighbours, especially if you are new to the neighbourhood. For another, I have already come to realize why Indians overseas take such pains to congregate and celebrate festivals. In India, you could blissfully ignore festivals, happy in the knowledge that the whole city was anyway celebrating it. Over here unless you marked a particular day it no longer held any significance. It turns out I do like my life being punctuated by these few days even if it holds only cultural importance and not religious importance.

So off we went, dressed nicely too. As anticipated, it was nice to have a whole bunch of people for whom Diwali meant something (In reality of course, Singapore has a public holiday for Diwali and it is an important festival. So it is not like we are living in some strange European country where the day goes unmarked). Also, as anticipated we got tons of useful information. We now have a part-time maid and have located an Indian grocery store closer home thanks to the pearls of wisdom gleaned.

The nicest thing was that apart from all the practical benefits we anticipated, it also brought us the simple joy of spending an evening chatting with people whose conversation we actually enjoyed.

That really is a wonderful thing.

1 comment:

Priyanthi said...

Good to know you guys had a good Diwali, away from home. Wishing you both a lovely year ahead.