Reflections

What a festival ought to look like – an introvert’s perspective

It’s official — I dislike all festivals.

To the core!

Yes, even Diwali.

Celebration of any festival has turned into a ritual that MUST and SHOULD be followed.

How I’ve always hated these musts and shoulds!

It’s just ridiculous and I’m frustrated.

There isn’t even a single festival in Hinduism that would allow for an introvert to enjoy.

All of them are sheer torture! Let me give some examples.

Ganesh Chaturthi — they play loud music on huge loudspeakers for 10 days! Starting from the very first day till the visarjan (immersion in a water body). At least, in individual homes, it would be according to how the family follows the ritual of this and that.

Diwali — loud crackers, meeting relatives or calling them, again ritual of puja. Wearing clothes I don’t like to wear. I’m the most comfy in a top and trousers, thanks for making me parade like a clown in new clothes.

Holi — again loud noises and applying colours to others and getting coloured yourself. Food is still fine, but why the loudness and applying colours to everyone even when someone doesn’t want to play!

Navratri — OMG! Don’t get me started on this one. This one goes back right to my childhood. I hate it! Maybe it’s for the goddesses, but again, loud songs on loudspeakers at night and the dance! I hate it! First of all, I was made to go for practice of that dance when I was 7-8 years old, I was forced to go, because that’s our culture, to force everything on everyone. Since then, I stopped participating in this festival and yet people from family and relatives have tried and tried to make me participate. I still refuse!

These were just 4 examples of festivals. But I don’t think other festivals are any different.

There’s always loud music, followed by some ritual, new clothes, and a call to relatives.

How can an introvert ever enjoy any of these festivals?

At the very least, there ought to be a few festivals that are quiet and introspective.

How about a festival to celebrate solitude or relaxation?

A celebration of being in Nature, or being alive.

Do we really need a bunch of relatives to feel ourselves as being alive? (If you do, I think it’s a problem!)

Why can’t a celebration be quiet? With almost no sounds or noises?

But then such festivals or celebrations wouldn’t capitalise, would they?

There’s no recourse.

Just find your own way

to celebrate quietly

in the middle of the night

or in the early morning.

The sun rises and brings a freshness,

such a quiet celebration.

The darkness arrives and brings the stars and the dreams,

another festival in the night.

A flower blooms, drops and dries,

is not death a gateway to a newness?

Nature shows us everyday

that every single day

and every single moment

can be a quiet celebration.

We don’t always need loud noises to wake up the gods.

Maybe they are always on, always listening.

Have you ever tuned to the idea that maybe, just maybe, the gods might love quiet celebration?

That the gods might still hear your heart beating in the silence too?

~ ~ ~ ~

A moon in the sky at dusk. Photo by Aditi Premankit.

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