Festivities away from home

Being away from home is hard, but reality hits harder as the festive season comes around the corner and one realizes that their family won’t be there to celebrate with. But my joy knew no bounds when I knew that I was surrounded with warm and loving friends who stepped up and put together an amazing evening full of splendor and pomp.

The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster ride full of bittersweet experiences. Entering the month, we knew we had a series of subject finals coming our way and for a while, it felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. After several days of burning the midnight oil, it was an absolute joy to have a string of festivals arrive at our doorstep.

It started with ‘Diwali’ - the Festival of Lights. Diwali is one of the most celebrated festivals in India and by virtue of being an Indian, it is very close to my heart and it is also of utmost importance to me to celebrate it with prideAlthough it is a five day celebration, the actual pre-work starts a month prior at which point we start by repainting our homes, cleaning out any redundant belongings, buying new and beautiful things and putting our best foot forward to open our homes to welcome the Goddess of Wealth. I knew I was going to desperately miss all the hustle and bustle that is a tradition this time of the year. However, a couple of my friends made sure that doesn’t happen by generously taking the initiative to put together a fun-filled evening with lights, lamps and delicacies. It was a planned potluck where we all lovingly cooked dishes from our home country and relished the recipes from others. We dressed in our best clothes with the ladies wearing colorful ‘sarees’ and men showcasing their swanky ‘kurtas’ – a homage to our cultural attire. The evening ended with an exchange of mouthwatering sweets and a million pictures to preserve the merry memories.

The month ended on a high with Halloween night. Having never experienced Halloween before, I was in absolute awe on witnessing folks dressed up as their favorite characters or spooky, ominous entities. The costumes were so good that it was hard to distinguish real police officers from dressed up ones. It was an experience of a lifetime and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

It feels great to be amidst a mélange of cultures and traditions, and I am look forward to exploring more cultures and enjoying their eclectic attributes to the full extent.