Sunday, October 22, 2006

Diwali in Deutschland!

Yes, you read it right - I am talking of Diwali, and in Deutschland!

Before I continue, let me just ensure that you know what Diwali is! For one, it is the biggest and the happiest festival that is celebrated in all of India also called the "Festival of Lights". For another, it is one of those few festivals in the world that are celebrated by people of many religions. Yes, though the origins of Diwali lie in the homecoming of Hindu Lord Rama (from the epic Ramayana) after defeating the demons in Sri Lanka (no, I am not talking about the Tamil Tigers a.k.a LTTE), this festival is celebrated with gaiety and pomp by Sikhs and Jains too. This in addition to spirited Christians, Muslims, etc that join in the celebrations.

When one is an Indian and lives outside India the way I do - Diwali implies a time when one can visualize all the sweets, eats, lamps, lights, crackers and fun that one could possibly imagine in vivid colors - all the fun but with oneself out of it! Friends and family back home miss you as much as you miss them, all the more on this auspicious day.

Hey, now I did not say that to collect sympathy! This is but an expected part of living in a different country! However, being someone who is not wont to sitting and pondering, what I did is something that impresses me too - I used my online skills to find that the city of F├╝rth was celebrating Diwali! Yes, unbelievable but true.

There wasn't any decision to be made. I had to simply switch the car-ignition ON and zoom to a city 230 kms away! Now, those of you who know me do understand that this is a trivial distance for someone called "Sid".

The event itself was wonderful. It gives me so much pleasure to see people in Germany that not only love but enjoy Indian Culture. It was amazing to see a stage prepared for Bollywood Dance performances! It was even more amazing to see youngsters from this country, not all Indian perform dances to a level that would make them a good candidate in any decent Bollywood movie. Being a true Bombayite, and a genuine son-of-the-soil, I was mesmerized by my memories of India that started running in front of my eyes - all triggered by this event.

Dances apart, there was also a Tabla recital. Surprise of surprises, the Tabla Master was not Indian too, and not German either. He was from Kabul and played the instruments with a level of expertise that radiated confidence.

However, one of the most interesting part of this event that made my evening so agreeable was the people I got to meet! It all started with a friendly conversation with a Bengali lady called Kokila and Christa who was there with her two daughters Jesse and Pamela whom I asked for the schedule of the programmes (thinking they were in charge of the event). They instead invited me to accompany them, and I realized that the two also knew each other only for the duration of the evening. They were all cheerful people who were simply having a good time. A coffee, a Prosecco, and a dinner soon followed as did a couple of musical performances. Time was flying and fast! It was already night before we could realize. The event had a perfect close for a "Festival of Lights". There were fireworks and these were the icing on the cake - for, I didn't expect them.

That was my account of a lovely evening. We all exchanged contact information, and promised to stay in touch. I do sincerely hope it works out that way! Nice and open-minded people are always few and far between. Be it in India or in Germany.

Shubh Diwali!

Meet the Sid @ Microsoft TechEd, November 2006, Barcelona

Find me at the "Ask The Experts" pavilion!

Looking forward to my first Microsoft Tech Ed experience as a MVP for Visual Studio / Visual C++... :-)