Dissertation, seminars, journals, work, patients, colleagues, so-called friends and, most importantly, politics — these words are familiar for every postgraduate student. And in between, after a long break, I do have something that I think I should write about. I am sure many ones do think like I do write only things which do happen to me and it might be boring to read about, I don’t have any kind of writing skill or I am not good with my stories and honestly, I am okay with that, I write crap because writing gives me feeling of comfort.
In my 30 years of living here, I had never heard, “You are not Hindu, you won’t be celebrating this festival.” After hearing this, I kept myself quiet for while and start remembering all my childhood and adulthood memories around Diwali. I still remember my father used to give me and my brother Rs 50 each to buy a toy made of clay, crackers and those yummiest and simplest, colourful and not-so-shameful, sugar candies, which I would get excited about.
I still remember my uncle used to make a small playhouse, which is typically called Gharonda in Bihar, and my brother and I used to help him to decorate the whole area with colourful paper, lights and candles.
My mother used to make yummy food on the day of Diwali and we would visit our neighbours to share sweets and enjoy Diwali together. We continue to follow this to date and have now passed this legacy to my niece and nephew. They also celebrate Diwali with all the same love and purity.
This is the first time I was not at home this Diwali, but still, I didn’t feel bad because when I opened my door on the night of Diwali, I saw a small diya lighting up my corner of the doors. This small gesture of love was made by my fellow who stays in the same gallery as I. This small candle lit a brighter and shiner love inside me towards this festival.
It’s not about the fact that we belong to different religions but that we belong to different hearts and minds. We can’t force anyone to think the way we do because discriminating on any basis shows their heart and mind, not ours. Every talk like this makes me happier and clearer towards believing that before being a Muslim or Hindu, I am an Indian. And I do enjoy every festival with love and purity, and so do my people.