Time travels fast.
When I was in USA, I used to miss Diwali festivities in India a lot. After all, you can’t light crackers there (except in some states like North Carolina) and Diwali is incomplete without seeing the fireworks. But, its a different kind of celebration there. I was looking at this blog post that I wrote in Diwali 2008 while living in New York – http://nisthaonweb.com/blog/2008/10/spirit-of-diwali-tamaso-ma-jyotir-gamaya/
So, this is how Diwali was celebrated at UIUC. In the evening, all students gathered in the big Illini Quad (UIUC campus area) and lit thousand of candles on all the walkways. You can see the surreal lighting in the picture above. And its not just Indians but all nationalities who light lamps together. By now, you have already made good friends and in a land far away from your home, they are your new family. You will find many non-Indians asking Indian students about the significance of this festival.
The winter chill just starts building around this time and soon it will rattle the hell out of you. It gets so cold by the night that you don’t even want to take out your gloves to light any more lamps. Fun times indeed. Now that I am back in India and light a lot of crackers (while refraining myself to be environmentally conscious), I do miss those Diwali days as well 🙂
The bottomline – enjoy your present because you will miss it some day. For many of you, it might be last Indian Diwali for a long time – so cherish it and feel blessed. The Indian Students Association (ISA) at all schools takes care of the Indian festival celebrations and you will find garba nights, diwali and holi parties a big part of your school lives.
May Ganesha make your dreams come true and Lakshmi give you the financial wellbeing required to attain those dreams.
A very Happy Diwali to everyone.