I said ‘Diwali” not “die vaalie”

In case you’re curious, when I mention that I am celebrating Diwali it is entirely unnecessary to:

  1. Ask “So you’re Hindu but you still believe in Jesus, right?”
  2. Look at me and say “Die vaalie? What’s die vaalie?” (okay, that one I can forgive because it’s funny)
  3. Try and help me out by saying “It’s like our Christmas.” Um, no, actually it isn’t (no wonder people are confused)
  4. Tell me that fireworks are bad

Now, please don’t think this post is slamming those who are making a concerted effort to make sure animals are protected or in fact protecting those who stupidly and erroneously use a beautiful part of Hindu culture to behave like idiots. Make no mistake, hurting animals will never have any place in the Hinduism nor will being inconsiderate to others. The arguments promoting the use (or more so the misuse) of fireworks confuse and embarrass me. It is not racist or culturally insensitive to ask you to be mindful of others, including animals, and I am not an Indian who has forgotten my culture by saying so. I am a person saying that my beliefs and practices should never infringe on, or cause harm to others. So please, get of your soapbox, no one is removing your religious freedom, the real and valid threat is to your freedom to behave like a fool.

Wait a second, the rest of you have not escaped either. Yes, I know how much you love your “fur babies” (the only thing odder than that phrase are the open mouth kisses with said babies) but please do not assume that because I am Indian and because I celebrate Diwali, that I am incapable of those higher order emotions. Please save your well-meaning comments for your kids (fur variety or not). You wish to paint me with that foul, outdated brush and I want to tell you that that shade of stereotype does not suit me. Celebrating Diwali or my proclamation thereof is not an indication that I need to be educated on animal rights. The fact is, I don’t expect you to understand my culture or religion, but I can promise you the view is much better once you stop looking down your nose at it. You have every right to be upset or angry at the misuse of fireworks, as do I, but your condescension makes me defensive. So while we’re so busying talking to each other we may actually miss the opportunity to communicate.

Perhaps there is a recipe for a solution though, and not necessarily the one you would find in a copy of Indian Delights. Perhaps it involves generous amounts of tolerance and respect, a dash of cultural sensitivity and a pinch of humour.  A word of caution when using “good intentions” and “well-meaning advice”, I would be careful to check their expiry dates, they have an unfortunate habit of turning into arrogance when you’re not watching. Maybe that’s one Diwali recipe we should pass down to the next generation?

PS. I wanted to title this post #fireworksmustfall but I’m not sure if that dissuades or promotes the use of them.

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