Today was Diwali the festival of light the festival with which India has won the world. The victory of good over evil, as darkness and ignorance is removed with light and truth. I got up early and the noise of crackers bursting outside my hotel window was an indication to me that it was Diwali day. The first thing I did was to get my room cleaned up and had my bed made just as new. I then had a bath and light up three Diya’s in my room one such Diya I put outside my window. I also light up some incense sticks to freshen up the room and give it a spiritual feel.
I felt light and spoke to an old friend after a year, he is my spiritual friend born in New Zealand Geoffrey is a baba and a spiritual guru who spends most of his years in India searching for Indian spirituality and meditation. He has spent years in ashrams on the mountains of Uttarakhand and searched for spiritual gurus in Haridwar. He can speak Hindi and is an ace with astrology charts. That’s how we got friendly I just wanted to know what my future was and will it pan out the way I have anticipated it .” Happy Diwali brother I can feel it you have the blessings of your guru OSHO and Satguru watching over you, you have the grace of these great spiritual masters. Life bodes well for you and so does your future .” Geoffrey told me over the phone, he was more concerned about the negative impact of Corona vaccines in the west and how many more have died in the past few months due to it.
In the afternoon I gave a dewlap bonus to my blog team member Vivek and all the helpers and waiters in the hotel I was staying Rs 500 to each of them after all they have looked after me for months. I walked up to Tiwari Ji’s house and wished him a happy Diwali, even he demanded his Diwali Bonus and rightfully got it another Rs 1500 gone as Diwali bonus.
I walked back towards the Durga Kunda temple and decided to do some Pooja shopping, I bought fruits, nuts, clay idols, clay Diya, red chunni, and agarbatti. The evening was spent making a mini temple in my room where I placed marigold garlands and flowers around the idol of Laxmi and Ganesh and light up three oil diyas. Then with folded hands, I prayed for the health and well beings of my friends and family. I took the time to think about my dead father and mother who is no more and deeply prayed for their soul. It all happened spontaneously it has been years since I celebrated Diwali on my own accord and went through the trouble of performing a full-fledged Pooja that too on my own.
It is strange Varanasi is the city where people come to burn their dead and loom for Moksha or glimpses into the afterlife. I am here in this city the city of death and I am celebrating the festival of lights here in the very city on whose ghats looms death at all times.
On my way back to the hotel a coconut vendor recognized me, I had been buying coconut water from him on route to Tiwari’s house,” you don’t come here to have coconut water nowadays?” The vendor asked politely,” Oh! I am busy walking to the university these days .” I replied and appraised him about my new walking route.
There is no doubt I enjoy staying in Varanasi and Diwali can be very spiritually invigorating in this city. People are simple and the city is cheap, one can live here for peanuts no doubt all the backpackers come here you can live in this city for months on a pittance of a budget. But the real way to enjoy the city is to walk through it as most foreign tourists do.
The loud sound of firecrackers exploding in the air goes on relentlessly and I can hear the Diwali bombs explode outside my room window coupled with the hissing of the fire rockets and the fizzing of the fire charkha. There are bright flashes of light as one crater after another is lit up by over-enthusiastic children and teenage boys. Even the rickshaw wala was demanding a Diwali bonus. I guess in this ancient Vedic Hindu city on the banks of the Ganges the tradition oF Diwali is celebrated with a lot more zest and a sense of piousness.
My Facebook and WhatsApp were full of happy Diwali messages and messages of Diwali brand promotions. Even my property broker send me a happy Diwali message, I managed to wish my grandmother and was thrilled with my solo effort at organizing my own Pooja the, Prasadam well I ate most of it and gave the rest of the fruits and barfi to the hotel staff who have looked after me well.