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As innocent as I was back in 2006, I didn’t even know that how or why Diwali was significant to me. I was just celebrating it thinking its fun. I was strange to the feeling Diwali holiday seemed to bring in families. The news was quickly spreading, about me and my family. We were going to a snowy and really cold place, that’s what I was told by my parents. We were going to Canada. It’s then that I realized the importance of my last Diwali in India. It will help define my culture, power of being a girl and help stay positive in any type of situation. My last Diwali in India brought such a joy and understanding in my life that was necessary to prepare myself for my future in Canada.
It was the 21st of October in the year of 2006, early morning of Diwali. As I stepped outside to place the old news paper in the recycling, the air smelled musty. Musty because every house were being cleaned. Diwali was here. Neighbors were hanging different colored fluorescent lights in their balcony to welcome the darkness with light. Elderly men and women were heading to the temple to get blessing on the auspicious day. At that moment I was struck by awareness, awareness of being lucky to be able to celebrate such holiday of joy. I grew more and more understanding about Diwali the festival of lights that will help define my heritage and background when I land on Canadian soil. The feeling of happiness was devoured by sadness when I even thought of living Gujarat the place I was brought up and educated in; but my last Diwali will always be reminder of who I am. I am an Indian; even if I stay miles away from my country I will always learn to embrace my heritage even after losing my identity.
Children were out shopping for almost half the day, buying fire crackers and new clothes to wear in Diwali; and the children with no fortune were sadly happy celebrating Diwali. While the children were out, women in the house hung garland of marigold and a sacred leaves of Ashoka tree on the door-top. Not only that but they also made attractive and colorful rangoli paint on the porch. Rangoli was as beautiful and colorful as a rainbow itself. Since girls were considered Laxmi: the Goddess of wealth and cleanliness, they were supposed to attend Laxmi Pooja. Laxmi Pooja was a ritual, in which girls my age would sit and listen to the great deed done by Goddess Laxmi and the strength a girl has. The Pooja was effective because it succeeded to make me feel as though a valuable person. Some people considered girls not strong enough. The Pooja caused me to act brave and show how capable girls can be. Diwali holiday is not only about celebrating Indian heritage but also about being accepted by everyone not considering gender, race and status; and I think I was able to accept people’s difference when I came to Canada.
The thing is since I was heading some place that I have only heard and seen in movies and since this was my last Diwali, my relative were coming to visit our family. Usually in Diwali it was said that we needed to interact with people socially so that every misunderstandings are cleared between friends and family. The interaction and the positive thoughts kept me positive for the rest of the day. Even today when I remember sitting in a black leather sofa and taking in every word that my relative said. This thought brings old memories back. Memories of my last Diwali and the positive vibe it carried with the brightness.
Finally it was night. The beautiful fluorescent lights were turned on. Earthen lamps were lit with a small flame wavering as the cool breeze swept. Children were excited to let the desperate fire cracker to go up and fill the dark sky with light. As the moon shined on the colorful rangoli painting, it too shined with brilliance. My last Diwali gave me a warm and comfortable feeling. My heart was at content and I was no more scared to go to a foreign land. People might consider me a Canadian Citizen but, they are going to consider me an Indian first. I have my culture in me, the strength a girl has and the positive feeling will always surround me as I continue my journey.
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