Growing up in Central Trinidad, Divali has been an active part of my life from childhood, in spite of my Roman Catholic upbringing. Moving to a predominantly Hindu school only helped encourage the fascination I always had with this special holiday.
I liked it. As a child and now as an adult, the concept of celebrating light over darkness always appealed to me.
I think about the drives I used to take with my parents to look at houses light up. Areas previously unimportant or uninteresting suddenly mattered because of the beauty of light that the holiday brought.
I think about the cane field behind my home where the boys in the neighborhood would go to buss bamboo. The sound never instilled fear for me, the association was never made with anything bad like gunshots. It was a sound of celebration and fun times.
Only later on in life did I begin to associate Divali with National Curry Day, after the magic of light overcoming darkness wore off, after the innocent child was replaced with a somewhat cynical adult. But as I sit in this airport terminal waiting to board my flight back home to Trinidad, I feel hopeful. Inexplicably hopeful and excited about this day, this celebration of light.
I’m not sure why, and I won’t spend too much time trying to figure it out, but I feel reconnected with my younger self and her way of viewing things. The excitement popularly synonymous would Christmas pulses through me for this day. I’d like to think that it’s more than excitement for the curry I asked my dad to get for me. I think it’s something deeper than that. And I invite everyone to think about this day for a bit, regardless of religious background, beliefs, lives. I think the concept of Divali is so simple yet universal that it can reach everyone where they are and resonate.
What darkness would you like your light to conquer today?