Life is a festival. Celebrate it.

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The month of August ushers in the season of festivity. Almost all the communities celebrate their religious festivals around this time. It starts with RAKSHA BANDHAN and end with Christmas.These days’ festivals have become more commercial than traditional.   The shops and businessmen try to exploit it in every possible way. Buy this, buy that, offers, offers gifts. That’s not the way to celebrate. Festivals are celebrated to show the way to live.  It is not just a one- day affair. It should be the way of everyday life. Each and everyday life should be spent with equal enthusiasm, excitement, love and hope. Just for example, take DIWALI. Why we celebrate Diwali?   For North Indians, it is the day when Lord Ram came back to Ayodhya.  But that was centuries ago. Till today we prepare to welcome him in our home. So, if we can wait for our lord every year on this day, why can’twe or why don’t we keep ourselves prepared every moment of our life.  After all he may land up any day, any moment. Remember the story of SAVARI in RAMAYAN. She kept herself prepared every day till the day Lord Rama really arrived.

We just celebrate one day. Sadly, the manner in which we celebrate our festivals these days, the very purpose of it is lost. During rakshabandhan,the focus is on type of gifts, one is giving or receiving. Some commercial establishments celebrate Independence Day as the cheapest day of the year. SAL KA SABSE SASTHA DIN. The day which should be most precious day for all of us is advertised as the cheapest day. What an irony. Maharashtra celebrates Janamashthami in its own unique way. A pot is hung some feet away above the ground level and the local boys try to reach the pot.  Mandals offer huge prize money. Sometimes the boys falls get hurt, even die. On 11th of august 2014, the high court has banned boys below 18 to take part in it.It is a welcome decision.

In Ganapati, the local boys collect donations for puja and use the money to drink liquor and make merry. Same thing occurs during Durga puja. This year, take a note of the Navaratri Mandals. A small idol of Durga is kept in the corner. bThe stage where musicians perform is larger. Garba is actually singing and dancing in praise of the goddess.  But you will sing “MUNNI BADNAM HUI”. And enjoy yourselves and then expect DURGA MATA to bless you, that can’t happen.

In the Bengali Durga puja too, there is so much of change. It is now all about big banners, hoarding and big donations. Even the sitting arrangements are made according to the donations one has given. You are discriminating in front of the Goddess, what you will do when she leaves after 3 days.  Yes, just 3 days,you may make it 5 or 6. On Shashti, the invitation is sent. She comes to the earth on the 7th day and leaves on the tenth day.  Now you may start partying from the 5th but that will not make Goddess Durga change her schedule. There is a practice of offering sarees to mother Durga. People make sure they buy the cheapest sari available in the market.  But for themselves, they will spend lavishly. In every festival, the focus is on what we will wear, what we will eat, where we will party. Now look at Diwali. People clean their houses, offices. Decorate everything. Finally pollutes the environment with crackers. Noise pollution, air pollution and this way we welcome our God. Why should he come? He is enjoying the peace of his heaven.

No wonder why people are suffering so much these days. Then we blame God. If we dig our own graves, who can help us. God has given us a choice, the quality of life you live is yours.
Coming back to celebrating life as a festival. This year, after all the festivals are over, don’t let the festive spirit go away. Rise every morning with the same excitement as you do on a festive day. Dress yourself with equal excitement. Prepare food as if you are cooking for God. Go to work the way you go on a festive day. Everybodydoes not get a leave on these days. They do attend their office but the mood is different. The mood needs to be happy that’s all. We need to celebrate every day. CELEBRATE LIFE.

-Moshumi Mandal