For some it may be hard to be a Jew on Christmas. As for me, it is hard to be an atheist on Diwali. This is the one time of the year when everything simply just comes alive. People and places are dressed in their Sunday best, colourful Chinese lights daintily carpet the buildings, and scrumptious meals are prepared smelling tantalizingly inviting …the entire extravaganza. How can one simply turn her back and ignore the overwhelming festive fervor? I may negate the existence or importance of Ram, but how can I stop myself from eating the mithai and thereby join in the celebrations?
If there wasn’t so much to do on Diwali and if I was, perhaps, a little more conscientious, I would have been torn apart by two opposing feelings. To join in or not to join in, that is the bleeding question. Bu denying the mere existence of god, I’m fundamentally saying that such a festival essentially should not be happening. But it is. And but, to put it mildly, I love Diwali. Hence basically, post Diwali, I’m a complete wreck. On the one hand, I’m an immensely content person who has eaten enormously, drunk, exchanged gifts, played cards, lit diyas and been merry. On the other hand, I’m a devastated person who cannot believe that now she is actually a pseudo- atheist and that she has not set convictions. I’m an atheist or I’m not; else I become just like rest of the fanatics who use their principles according to their convenience. Ah, the agony of ‘thinking’ minds.
There I was, on my way to becoming one of the Greats having sorted out all the views on life, but I got stuck with an elementary question – Are principles more important than Diwali? If I follow my own convictions, then I can’t celebrate Diwali. I mean atheism is nice but then Laksmi wouldn’t enter my house at midnight. It is actually principally incorrect for me to prepare for pooja. Also, I shouldn’t be lighting diyas, exchanging gifts and goodwill, lighting crackers, playing cards, eating all those gastronomic delights and so much more. I should be dismissing the conformers who pray to someone who probably doesn’t even exist. After seeing their faces glow with happiness, their eyes light up with cheer and hear their laughter ring with undiluted excitement, i’m not sure who is actually stupid…
However, despite all my love for this festival, I cannot still agree about certain aspects of the festival. Diwali cannot ever be an excuse for enforcing child labor, for mindless gambling or bursting of crackers and for excessive fanatic. Diwali may be a festival of goodwill, excitement and happiness but we cannot afford to ignore the evils existing in the society. All cannot be excused because it’s the exalted Festival of Lights.
My angst about God, life, the universe and everything may prevail the entire year but not during Diwali. It can’t be helped. I guess even Atheists like the festive mithai.