After yesterday’s wonderful celebration, I thought I report you a little bit more about what we did, how we enjoyed the evening and what you can experience, if you will someday be here with us on Diwali.
As I already told you yesterday, we spent the whole afternoon in preparation. The electrician finished putting up the lights in the garden as well as on the Ashram building. At the same time we started taking out the oil lamps, placing them along the way, onto railings and even into the garden. Our guests made small designs with the lamps and picked flower petals to fill them into the design. The boys got excited when they placed cotton wicks into the lamps and filled them with oil. The last part of preparation was then to light all of them so that the Ashram was finally shining in 5000 oil lamps.
We all got into our new clothes. That is also part of the Diwali celebrations, everyone wears new clothes. We had given the boys and the whole staff new clothes which they could wear and so we were all ready to enjoy a walk in the garden and take some pictures of the beautifully decorated building and garden.
We had also changed the setting in the entrance hall of the Ashram. In the morning, Purnendu had taken out all carpets which we had anywhere in the Ashram and had put them into the hall so that we could all sit there, on the sofas and the carpets and also Apra could just crawl around everywhere. After a small ceremony that my father did, we all sat down there and had our celebration food. Apart from great kidney beans and a tasty vegetable dish there were snacks and sweets of all different kinds that my mother had been preparing for days. It was wonderful and we all ate until we could not have been fuller! Walking and talking in the garden afterwards helped the food digest.
One of the most beautiful things to see in the evening was however not the decoration of the Ashram. It was to see everyone’s joy and especially the excitement of the youngest of all. It was Apra’s very first Diwali and I can confidently say that she loved it! She was amazed already one day before when she saw the first chains of colourful lights in the garden, glittering and blinking. When she woke up after her afternoon nap and saw the lamps all over, she knew that there was definitely something special happening. Her mother suddenly wore bangles and a necklace, she herself was in a new dress and everyone came again and again to her, laughing, clapping and singing ‘Happy Diwali’. She could crawl around in the hall without anybody directly behind her – due to the carpets we were not afraid of her falling. And then she found the plate with the sweets. Oh, what a joy to watch her chewing on the sugary sweets!
It was a beautiful evening. Today we still are in festive mood and will keep on celebrating. Today people prepare lots of different food items in their homes. Of course they offer that food to God first but afterwards they have a feast that even outdoes yesterday’s dinner. So we keep on celebrating and send you again much love from India!