First the sweets, then the noise, then the pollution, and then the 'mangne walles'. Suddenly, you find yourself swarmed by people you have never seen, their hands stretched out for Diwali bakshis (gifts), imploringly.The eunuch, the garbage collector, the municipality sweeper, the postman, the car-washer, the parking boy, just anybody and everybody. When the begging becomes incessant, you reluctantly dole out the money. Your reputation is built by how much you give out.

This culture of Diwali gifts is alien in my part of the country. Diwali for us meant decorating the house, planting banana trees around the gates, making marigold garlands which were attached to a long bamboo pole. And on it sat the candles and diyas as dusk broke in. A family puja wrapped the evening's ritual, then would come friends and relatives and we in turn would go hopping from one neighbour's house to the other for a taste of their prasad. My mother would prepare her special kheer (sweet dish made of rice). Finally, we would all play with fire crackers. Gifts never featured in it all.

But Delhi is different. It starts with the game of cards and high stakes. Then friends go shopping for gifts. Just like Christmas, and not a bad idea if it's reciprocated. As a business journalist, I would think gifting is also good for the economy. But how does one tackle snobbish mangnewalles who simply barge into your house and demand money as if it was their birthright? I gave someone sweets and he almost chucked it because I did not give him money. It's tough handling such audacity but in this land of foul-mouthed crude individuals, you succumb to the demands.

I hate gifting especially when there is no sentiment involved, which is why I have come to the conclusion that Diwali in Delhi is sinful. The Gods have no place in here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of my old days in Calcutta.

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