The clock’s tick was very quick. There were parties all over the town, waiting to welcome New Year. There was food, drink and dancing. All the monuments and places which thronged with tourists were lit up by lights and from the roof tops, the firecrackers were ready to light up the night sky with colors. When the clock tower struck the first gong of midnight, the celebrations began. It was a new year. People recited their wishes and made resolutions that would never be kept. I was nowhere nearby.
Love was in the air. Morning’s light on Valentine’s Day and I saw a pretty couple through my window, kissing. Sitting in their home on the branch of the tree outside, they were celebrating being love birds. The cafés were booked, the park benches were occupied and every couple who walked past me that day were holding hands, the look in their eyes filled with passion. There was a queue to get in to the shops which sold greeting cards, and the malls were doing the best business of the year. I was nowhere nearby.
There were colors everywhere. On every face, in every hand, the powdered color was to be seen. Holi had arrived and it brought with it a sense of excitement, an opportunity to get some color into an otherwise dull life. Even in offices which were working, the employees splattered their faces with a streak of color to announce the festival. I was nowhere nearby.
Independence Day was on the horizon. Most shops had flags of various sizes, badges and armbands in the Indian tricolor. All over the country, preparations for celebrating it grandly were underway. School children were practicing their dance steps, their marches and other routines; and teachers were busy ordering chocolates and sweets to distribute to the kids. When the day finally came, the celebrations got underway with much gusto. The whole nation seemed one. I was nowhere nearby.
Days passed, the festival of lights came. There was an aura of divinity all over the country. People were busy getting ready, buying new clothes and fineries, diyas and firecrackers. Schools were shut and children were happily playing on the streets. Sounds of joy filled the air as the celebrations over five days got underway. The night sky was lit up by colors and the houses had diyas in front of them. I was nowhere nearby.
The church was decorated from ceiling to floor, a choir sang carols galore. There wasn’t a spare seat in the chapel as the priest read from the Holy Bible. There were hurrahs to mark the moment the clock struck midnight to announce Christmas. There was the smell of cakes in the air, and fine wine… kids were opening the gifts that were left under the tree by Santa Claus. The atmosphere of celebration was fervent. I was nowhere nearby.
Every festival is an occasion for the families to unite, for slipping bonds to be strengthened and to just celebrate being a family, sharing love and having fun. For me, each day with my family is a celebration. I know they’re there for me, and I’m there for them. During the festival times, I think of those who don’t have a family, who are remembered on these occasions by very few, perhaps by just sponsoring their meals or giving them a new dress. Only a temporary gesture and they’re not remembered again. Orphanages and old age homes, do the colors, the love, the light go there? No, not very often… so I go there, to celebrate with them. I watch them celebrate their childhood, or watch them be nostalgic about their childhood. I become part of their family.
Festivals may celebrate many things… family, unity, birth, death, harvest or love… Me? I celebrate life.