12thNovember

Happy Diwali from Laos! (never thought I’d say that)

It’s Diwali – eve (Laos time), and I can’t help but reflect on this absolutely incredible year past and contemplate all that my future year holds. As it is the New Year, it is the perfect time to reflect on my life and relationships and to focus on the triumph of light over darkness (metaphorically- good over evil – and more than physically in my case considering how dark I’ve gotten with all my sun-time this year). Our year has been filled with the most amazing travel adventures imaginable, unexpected and exciting accomplishments, new friendships spanning the globe, indescribable experiences we will cherish forever, an honest perspective on life – what it is, can be, and should be – and most importantly, further strengthening our relationship with each other (yes, despite spending every waking hour together, we are still deeply happy and in love). We have also strived to maintain (if not strengthen, which is possible given all of our e-communication abilities and the fact that we have this blog that details our daily lives) our relationships with all of you, our dear family and friends, despite our distance, time difference, and general inaccessibility. We are thankful for the MANY blessings we’ve received and are excited to see what the new year will bring to our family and friends. We miss you and love you and are constantly thinking about you. Moreover, we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. Sal Mubarak!

For the quick explanation of Diwali, check out the links below. For my purpose (and for Tyler’s, since he has pseudo-adopted this particular aspect of my cultural/religious heritage), just know that this is a very important time to be with family, reflect on your previous year and what your goals are for the next, and to celebrate all of life’s little and big glories. I wish I could spend this time with my parents, brother, and extended family in India (as I wish every year), but part of what I think is MOST important about this celebration is being thankful for all that you DO have instead of that you don’t. So thank you FaceTime, Skype, and Google, for making it possible for me to communicate with my family & friends all over the world on a regular basis.

Also, one final special note to my little brother. Bhai Bij (the 5th day of Diwali and this year on November 15th) is the day when a brother and sister – normally far removed from one another after marriage in India – get to spend the day together. The sister does a special prayer for her brother, ensuring his health, safety, and prosperity; the brother gives the sister a gift symbolizing his undying support for her. Now, those of you who know us know that Jay & I can’t exactly be called traditional and maybe not even Hindu, depending on your definition. Your (and our) cynicism aside, these holidays marking sibling love mean something to us. I can confidently say we don’t need them – we send each other constant reminders of our love for each other including emails about a possible Boy Meets World spin-off show – but it still kind of sucks every time one of these holidays appears and we aren’t together to celebrate. My life was given purpose the day my little brother was born, and no distance or time difference or ridiculous work schedule or other life commitments will ever change that. I love you, kiddo, and if you’re ever up for it, I will happily do a puja (prayer ritual) for your eternal blessing.

Links to learn more about Diwali (and yes, Wikipedia is the first):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/holydays/diwali.shtml
http://www.bangaloreaviation.com/2010/11/explanation-of-festival-of-diwali.html

  • Meeta

    Wonderful. Happy Diwali to you both!

  • Dad M.

    Glad to learn about all that is important to you. Happy Diwali.

  • Jyotsna Mahendra

    I am grateful to have friends who travel and who have served and likely will continue to serve as helpful consultants and itinerary designers for Shailesh & I. Hopefully you will also be able to serve as travel buddies very soon! Happy Diwali to you both 🙂

  • Dad

    Lovely, as always. Minor correction Bhai Bij (bij means two or second day of the new year). Fifth day is about Nag Pancham (Pancham means fifth day).

    Love,
    Dad

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