What Are Festivities?: Thoughts this Diwali and Veterans Day 2015

November 11, 2015

**Note: I currently write from India but my WP publishing time is set to California time, so you’re see I talk about today/yesterday/tomorrow very fluidly. Don’t get too confused por favor!**

First off, it is November 11th and Happy Diwali and Veterans Day to everyone! May this year bring each and every one of you health, prosperity, and peacefulness! It is a rarity for both of these holidays to coincide, but I guess the stars are aligning! Other bloggers that have written about this day are FUSSYlittleBLOG and Pundita – check their posts out!

On Tuesday, I received a message from my dear friend asking how I’m doing and whether I’m in a ‘festive mood’ and my instant response to her was… “Hmm I never really think of Diwali as festive! Lol. Feel like I’m just stuck in a busy routine I can’t deviate from”. Originally when I said ‘busy schedule,’ I was referring to my marathon-like NaNoWriMo blogging on this site, but now, on Diwali, it refers to the constant noise pollution and annoyance of firecrackers bursting 24/7 and the fact that my brain has been busy pondering less-than optimistic thoughts about the state of the world we live in, non-stop, today.

And now…I’m tired. So instead of anything too structured, I just want to share an informal post with you about what I did and thought about today that preoccupied my fragile mind so. Apologies in advance for the stream of consciousness writing that went into recounting the activities of the day intertwined with my philosophy on humankind.

I woke up on Diwali Day as usual, had breakfast, and posted yesterday’s blog post whilst dealing with wi-fi connectivity issues. Not long after, my family headed to the office to do Puja and returned for lunch. The flaky internet now working, I randomly started searching online for iconic images I could make into shadowbox art. I started out looking for famous paintings and famous magazine cover photos that led to searches for historically important photography and thinking about the impact of black and white photography and how that would translate into 3D form. Something with a strong social message?

I looked at photos of atomic bombs, emancipated prisoners, child laborer so, sex slaves, protests and other visually powerful material. This led me to wonder what kind of images would represent historical events that don’t have photographic evidence. I also wondered if any would also work as silhouette paper cutting art. And not for the first time since changing my career path after my MSc in Human Osteology and Palaeopathology, I regretted giving up my dream of one day becoming a forensic anthropologist come true, and doing my part to help bring the world’s one step closer to reconciliation and righting the wrongs that have been committed. I was so sure back then that I’d made the right choice because of the mental trauma it would cause me, but I’m now not sure that is a good enough reason anymore.

I definitely got a bit overwhelmed and decided to relieve myself by coming up with a soap recipe I wish to try my hand at soon (talk about stress-relief multitasking). I had planned to make myself a soup for dinner but got so completely wrapped up in my web search and soap calculations that the next thing I knew, it was time for the Diwali Puja at home. We did that, had dinner, and I again wondered why on such an ‘auspicious day’ I was having such dark thoughts about the constant failures of humankind since early afternoon.

Diwali is called the festival of lights because we celebrate the victory of light over darkness, and good vanquishing evil. But in my mind, all I can think about is why the battle even needs to take place in the first place, why is there man-made sadness and evil in the world, and what about picking up the pieces after damage has been done and worrying about how it may affect those who survived the ordeal (regardless of which side they are on)?

It was only then, when I went on Facebook, that I put two and two together and realized others were celebrating Veterans Day. (Thank you to everyone who gave their service from the bottom of my heart!) But I found my thoughts weren’t comparable to the point of Veterans Day either. The PTSD, the political agendas of which service men and women are mere pawns, and the grieving families of the ‘fallen.’ Thank you is not enough and my worries about society still stand – why go there in the first place? I’ve researched wars and why they happen and what happens during them for many reasons, but I’m still no closer to understanding if they are required or can be prevented…..

I know the responses I’d get for all the questions and frustrations I’ve already voiced, and I’ll see more sense when I’m up tomorrow. But either way, I’m still uncomfortable and burdened by the way I was thinking today of all days (as this is common thoughts for me on ‘normal’ days but I try not to think about it on festive days). For today, my point of view is admittedly narrow and I have a heavy heart.

To relieve the burdens of the day, I decided I needed to do something that made me happy before I fell asleep so I caught up on all the Korean dramas I am following (talk about another jump!), which did in fact bring a smile to my face despite the ‘happy festive’ thunderous sound of firecrackers outside my window made me somewhat melancholic as its constant noise was reminiscent of the sound of gunfire and warfare. That sound was the scary lullaby I fell asleep to.

Diwali’s now over but the celebrations continue. The Korean dramas are over but it is now the next day, and the sound of bomb-like crackers has not stopped even in the daylight… The ritualized massacre and bloodbath of the creatures and organisms that call the sky their home continues…in the name of peace and love. How ironic…


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