Festival of Lights | A Prose

As I stand on the terrace, chilly November wind brushes past the tip of my nose. I might catch a cold, there’s a 150% chance and I still stand there.

There are lights everywhere, mostly bright blue and green, dangling from houses in vertical lines. They used to be milder and warmer before, but still beautiful they are.

I can smell the fresh marigold all around, blooming in flower pots or hanging as garlands. Their bright yellow color reminds me of warmer days, of summer, of the sun, of the light. Incense sticks burn somewhere behind, it’s smell reminds me of the time I am in.

The city is a jewel in the dark night, devoid of the moon. The night is quiet and yet playful, it shines in colors of all kinds, in its own kind. But this night must end too, like all other nights. And yet I’d pray for time to slow down a little, if not much, for my senses to take hold of the beautiful moment that was, that is and that will be.

When I was a kid these lights could slow time down, filling my heart with the joy of just what it was – lights. I could then just say, ‘There’s still three days before school starts. I should enjoy these three days to the fullest.’ I didn’t know how long 24 hours would take. I’d just remain awake for a long time, believing I had slowed time down. These lights still fill my heart with joy of all that it is, but time seems to be always in a rush, or perhaps I’ve lost the magic keys that could slow it down. Maybe there still are three days before school starts and maybe I should still enjoy them. There are still 24 hours in a day.

The lights will return, perhaps in different shades the next year, but the oil lamps will always burn, radiating the rays of the sun.

Of Wishes and Nostalgia

I sometimes think of a piece of rock between the flowing waters, undisturbed and unresponsive of the water currents that pass by it. Just there. Sometimes I think I could be the rock, amidst the flowing time. Just there. Festivities are one of those times I feel most like the rock, like the observer.

These holidays, these festivities are perhaps a break in the flowing waters, like a dam that has been constructed so that the water overflows and remains there for a while, covering everything beneath its level. Instead of currents, there is a lake, a pool, a break from the nature of everyday. A pause to look unto which might have been missed in the everyday current. So much of time has passed, and so much remains to be passed. No fuss, no grandeur, just like that, just everyday stuff.

Nostalgia overcomes me, flows through each of my veins, as I smell the marigolds blooming in the kitchen garden, or the silent roads beyond the balcony of my room, or the half empty skies I haven’t stared at in a while. I know this is a price or the boon of growing up, of knowing something I did not know a decade ago, and of waiting to learn more in the years to come.

As I try to learn, with a tint of fear, to let go of all time that was and embrace what is and what comes, my wish for you, to you the traveller, to you the dreamer, and to you the believer, is that may you find your Why, may you defeat the darkness first inside of yourself and then outside, may you always shine like the sun, who I imagine doesn’t know its purpose, and still continues to shine for a million years to come. May we all, though a little lost we are, learn to carve our directions.

Happiness must happen, writes Viktor E. Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning. I pray for happiness to happen for you, for me, for us all.

The Festival of Reminiscence

“What does a rhombus look like?” the teacher asked. 

“A Kite!” the students replied unanimously. 

A rhombus in our heads was always represented by a kite. And a kite, was and will always be about Dashain, one of the most important festivals of Nepal and Hindu devotees around the world.

I have been trying to remember what is it about this festival that I absolutely adored as a kid.

Perhaps it was the month long holiday (which is now only being cut shorter and shorter as we step into adulthood!), or perhaps about the cramped shopping with my mother and aunts. May be it was about meeting my cousins after a long summer at school, flaunting our new dresses and making plans weeks before on what we would do the day we finally meet. May be it was the kite flying tradition at the last moment that we always lost, because some other neighbor always had sharper and stronger thread. Or perhaps it was the amusing game of cards that the adults played as we counted the number of years when we would be able to join along.

We learnt about cards in probability or probability in cards. Whatever it was, it was certainly worth the wait.

A big part of the festival was always about my cousins. Some of us have moved abroad, some of us in the city are studying and busy chasing our respective lives, others- the younger ones, the new generation is growing up and living the times we once lived. Some of us have joined the cards table, borrowing a couple of hundreds from our parents to marvel at the game while it lasts. The younger ones are demanding kite traditions and traditional clothes, moving their tiny heads away from their iPads and tablets.

Lately I have been talking about how Dashain is no longer the same. But may be I’ve forgotten that it was not supposed to stay the same. Or perhaps it has remained the same and I have changed, as I was supposed to.

As I returned back home a single kite flew past the crescent moon. The air does not feel like it used to, and the skies are not that colorful anymore. 

As I watch from the observer’s seat, the child like excitement may have faded away, but a new set of perspectives are on the rise. For each year, it means a different thing. For each set of transitionary period, it represents a new angle of life. The memories that were still remain. And they are not essentially just about the time that was, but also for the time that is and that will be.

As Corrie Ten Boom would say:

Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.

It was simple. And it still is.

Behold the time has come and gone in a flash, what have you seen? What you have seen is all that counts.

Wishing everyone celebrating a prosperous, lively and meaningful Vijaya Dashami. May this festival bring you closer to what you’ve been looking for.

Best Wishes,

Alfa