a long overdue post. but looks like things have reduced to but monthly entries. wanted to put in something about the Diwali celebrations (if one may call it that) here in the US. got a glimpse of it in pretty much 'desi' San Jose. was rather curious to find out how junta here observe the fest of lights. would there be crackers? fireworks?
well, there was nothing of that sort. v in raleigh mentioned a community celebration at a local park where the indian community organised more like a fair. fireworks? nope. stalls with goodies to eat. why no crackers here? well, i guess they are allowed only on the 4th of july. fire trucks take positions before the crackers.
did something i hadnt done ever before in my life. something that would make folks happy. went to two (not one but two) temples on Diwali! well, the first one (in sunnyvale) was more of an aberration to the definition. looked more like a garage or warehouse converted into a make-shift holy dwelling. seemed like every conceivable Hindu deity was brought together and cramped under one roof. immensely sacred or claustrophobic, i couldnt gather. arrangements and puja seeming more of a matter of convenience than anything else. took a while for the girl to realise that the holy water is given first and then the prasadam. yup, thats the purist in me talking. then again, its also common sense. giving them the benefit of doubt, probably they are doing the best they can.
off to livermore - and i was in for a pleasant surprise. shiva-vishnu temple, supposed to be quite popular, and a comforting sight too. place to wash your hands and feet before you enter, elegantly attired priests, sricharanam et al, the calming smell of incense/camphor all around. felt at home. the place did keep pace with the times. brochures and banners replaced by snazzy LCD screens. tirupatiesque laddoos at $5 a piece. irresistable :) and this one just couldnt escape my eye... archana tickets starting $51... was used to seeing Rs. 51 onwards... are desis in US rich enough to shell out $51 per archana!? no wonder this place looked all decked up! dwarfs the sunnyvale experience hands down.
but a pleasant place this. leavng me with happy thoughts :) an hour and a half long drive each way, well worth the effort! happy diwali to everybody and a great year ahead :)