Today it is the important Hindu festival of Dussehra, and normally there would be gigantic effigies of the wicked god Ravan being burned, as a symbol of the triumph of good over evil.
It is also exactly 2 months to the day till Christmas, which would traditionally be the signal for me to start excitedly messaging my children, who are both total 100% Xmasaholics.
I don’t know about you all good folk, but I have never felt less festive in my life…well, obviously when my mother died a couple of weeks before Christmas that was horrid, but even if I felt miserable, the world around me was in full festive fig.
But not this year.
Everything is muted or pared-down or cancelled, not just here in India but around the world.
Personally speaking, I have never felt less like celebrating than I do right now.
Usually, in India, Dussehra heralds Diwali, which heralds the full-on Indian wedding season, and there are parties and dinners and lunches galore.
Then it’s Christmas and my children come home for a few precious days.
Then it’s New Year and new beginnings.
But not this year.
I am 90% sure that my children won’t be back here in India for Christmas, which will be the first time EVER we have been apart, for what is our most important day of the year and our favourite festival.
I always knew that The Day Would Come when they decided they didn’t want to come home for Xmas and was secretly dreading it, but I certainly didn’t expect a terrible pandemic to make the decision for us.
And yes, I know, I know, I know, on a scale of Coronavirus worries, if this is our biggest concern, we actually have nothing to worry about. Touch wood, we are all in good health, and we have a home and food. I know all this and I do not take any of it lightly, but it’s all oh-so-gloomy this year.
Because we all know that 2021 will continue in this same scary vein, don’t we?
It’s not as though at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, Coronavirus is going to disappear and we can all forget this terrible year and start with a jolly new year.
All decidedly gloomy, and as this upcoming slew of festival across religions makes abundantly clear, we are ALL in this.
Every one of us is impacted.
Think back to the start of the pandemic, when China shut down the country and people couldn’t celebrate Chinese New Year. That was January.
From then on, it’s been a rolling shut down of holidays and festivals around the globe, and realistically it looks set to continue for months more.
I was glad that the Indian PM addressed the issue of the festive season, urging people to show restraint and not socialise. God knows everyone is fed up and wants to celebrate, but the big gatherings that mark Diwali will be disastrous.
Those of you who know me, or who have read this blog over the years will know that at the earliest acceptable opportunity, I move into full-on bling mode, stringing fairy lights all over the place from Dussehra right through till 6 January, when, oh-so-reluctantly, I take down our Christmas tree.
Every year I cheat a little, advancing the day when I start blinging everything up, because I’m a closet fan of blingtastic fairy lights.
But, as of now, my heart ain’t in.
I’m not sure whether or not I’ll doll up the house the way I usually do.
Anyway, folks, just to say that I feel for everyone who is not celebrating Dussehra the way they would’ve liked.
Well done for showing restraint and for being sensible.