I call myself a recluse. ( It's my prized excuse for not letting anyone call me unsocial) I rarely see any point in attending rowdy parties, getting drunk with a group of friends to celebrate the end of an agonizing period of poring over textbooks (exams in other words). My idea of 'fun' is so entirely different from an average tween's...that sometimes I fear I might be a deviant. Besides overcrowded places make me nauseous. I prefer my peace and quiet.
That's why I'd rather be at home neatly wrapped up in a blanket on a cold rainy day relishing my cup of steaming hot chai (I'm a tea person yeah) and reading my favourite author's latest. That's my idea of heaven.
So you must not be surprised when I say I sincerely despise the period of festivals in my city. Be it Holi or Diwali or Eid or Durga puja I'm always dreading the season of crowded streets, malls, cafes, food joints, deadly traffic snarls and menace of auto-drivers hiking fares dutifully taking advantage of the festival frenzy.
But then.....why does my heart skip a beat every time I pass by a street hawker's stall and see a young girl buying her umpteenth new puja outfit with the hint of a gratified smile on her lips? why is there an explosion of excitement mingled with happiness somewhere in the pit of my stomach when I see my neighborhood being lit up with hundreds of tiny electric bulbs of every color a few days before diwali?
When I see a little boy putting an end to his Ramadan fast on CNN by peeking into the kitchen his mom is cooking up a delicacy in...why is it that I unwittingly end up smiling myself? Despite hating the tradition of smearing oneself and others with colors (which create irremovable stains on every part of your anatomy and your precious clothes to boot).....why is it that it feels so nice when I see a group of merry-makers on Holi with virtually unrecognizable features? Why do I get an intense urge to buy a Christmas tree every year and spend an entire day decorating it painstakingly as soon as December approaches?
I think it's because I'm human. It's because every religion has its own unique way of viewing the Almighty and despite the fact I do not believe in ritualism or superstitious customs...I am tempted to believe in the message of joy and cheer that each festival helps spread.
We're living in a world infested with the fears of war, hunger, poverty, religious fanaticism, governmental repression, terrorism, global warming and uncountable other evils. To phrase it differently...we're steadily running out of reasons to stay happy and keep that smile intact.
Maybe that's why we're reluctant to let go of any opportunity to celebrate. All of us look forward to these festivities in the same manner in which a newly employed person awaits their first paycheck.
Getting together with people you didn't get to see for a long time owing to that hyper hectic schedule, spending quality time with loved ones and family, shopping for clothes, shoes, accessories, cooking up scrumptious meals and sharing them with others...no matter what festival it might be these are undeniably the common traits.
A festival is a way of celebrating life, our treasured beliefs and the wonderful feeling of co-existing in harmony inspite of the innumerable differences. Fun isn't it?
So in the end I say..do not be misguided by 'my' idea of fun. Go out there and join in the celebrations. Cherish these moments of your life which might never come back again. If not anything else the memories of all the good times spent with friends and family will stay with you for a life time to be recollected in moments of solitude some day in the future.