Nov 11, 2007

What's Diwali

this seems to be the right time to write this, after all if theres one festival that means as much to us as christmas does for the west, & also arouses similar feelings of goodwill, generosity & good cheer, it is diwali. even without domestic help & the general do-everthing-urself attitude that one has to accept here, most of my friends prepared elaborate diwali snacks & sweets, cleaned & vacuumed their homes with a passion that is sure to evoke the blessings of the goddess laxmi, even if their prayers dont. no, i'm not being sarcastic. there is smthing admirable abt these women who smilingly indulge every whim & fancy their families come up with.

p, one of the women i'm talking abt, has been spending close to 5 hrs everyday in the kitchen, making stuff like laddoos, gujia, chiwada & 4-5 other items i've always relished without even bothering to know the name. she is tired beyond words but beams with a strange glow in the evenings. according to her, her hubby mustn't regret the fact that he's away frm india & miss his mom, who acc. to p is a champion when it comes to whipping up dishes in a flash. another friend's daughter requested her mom to make samosas and the poor gal (mom, not kid) spent almost a day poring over recipe books & websites to find the perfect recipe & finally made the samosas. needless to say, they were yummmmy... whenever we meet these days, conversations abound abt how tired they all are, how they're not gonna cook for the next 3 days, how all that frying & taloing induces waves of nausea, & yet there is no bitterness, no real chagrin at being at the receiving end of such extravagant demands. in fact, all i can detect is immense joy, pride & satisfaction. and yes, strangely enuf, a latent sense of competing & outdoing each other & their m-i-l's. if this isn't limitless generosity - to share oneself, ones resources & time & privacy, then i dont know what is. for sm1 who guards her private self & her time almost as ferociously as cerberus, this is worthy of emulating & learning from.

speaking of generosity brings me to another person without whom this post wud be incomplete. for all the essays & debates i've been privy to, forgiveness is a virtue i haven't fully grasped. in fact, with the exception of our mom, the rest of us r alike. retaliation, a smouldering resolve to get even at a more opportune moment, & vindictiveness r familiar emotions; to let go, forgive & move on, r distant cousins. therefore it is all the more difficult to be married to a person like A who doesn't take insults too seriously, is completely contained & doesn't harbour any desire to climb up in others' estimation & actually needs to be REMINDED when so-&-so behaved abominably with us or abused our hospitality or stole our money or took us for granted ......... this has often been grounds for serious friction in the relationship where i've mistaken his attitude for weakness or an inherent effort to avoid ugly situations & confrontations coz he's afraid. now i know nothing cud b farther from the truth.

M, a colleague of A's who's been a pain in the butt & given hazaar grief to A in office, has
inevitably run into trouble with other superiors in the comp too & has been politely asked to clear his desk. his demeanor & attitude have been such that even the corridors of the client office r abuzz with rumors of his tantrums & notorious behavior. he called A yday to ask him for recommendations which he'll require nowthat hes job hunting. A heard him out patiently & agreed to oblige, i mean, without any fuss, no attitude shoving down the throat, no gloating or attempts to extend the moment to make M squirm. call me uncharitable or mean or whatever, i know i wud have. two other ppl i'm v.close to have also been in similar situations & i know they wud have also behaved like me. the funny part is, A knows that in an honest internal appraisal, he wudnt rate M very highly. his work ethics suck & he's a poor performer. but since he's very nearly without a job, A didnt even rethink his decision to endorse a favourable letter of recommendation. i'm not going to go into the professionalism or lack thereof in what he's doing. for me, it takes tremendous reserves of love & contentment to be without malice & vindictiveness. again smthing to admire & maybe emulate.

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