Saturday, 10 November 2007

Diwali celebrations in St. Petersburg

Diwali- 'the festival of lights' has always been close to my heart since my childhood days when I used to go shopping for crackers and candles with my father. In day time we used to clean and wash up the whole house and at night we used to put 'Dias' and candles inside and outside our house and have fireworks. It used to be such a special occasion for the whole family. For reunion, for forgiving each other, for solidarity and a very special occasion for the children.
Now I live far away from my home but it is said 'home is in the heart' so I carry India of my imagination, a little of her, in my heart wherever I go, even to Russia. Here in St. Petersburg it has been snowing since a few days but it did not dampen our spirits to celebrate the festival of lights. We decided to celebrate Diwali at the Consulate and everybody showed their enthusiasm. An Indian Classical Music Group "Nirmala" consisting of seven members came forward to perform for us as a special gesture on the special occasion of Diwali. We invited a number of Indian and Russian guests who have been associated with us for a long time and arranged 'Samosas & Amritis' for them along with chips, juice, cold drinks, chai & coffee. Our Russian chauffeur brought the Russian dish 'Blinis' from his home and also a lots of candles to decorate the whole entrance and the sitting hall. The music group sang 'Bhajans, Aartis and Qwalis' and performed 'Kuchipuri' dance. It was amazing to see Russians singing 'bhajans' and playing 'tabla, dholak & harmonium' with great skills. Many Russians could not believe that the members of the music group were Russians. The kind of perfection they showed in playing Indian music is not only inspiring and praiseworthy but also worth emulating.

Aboveall we had a great Diwali in St. Petersburg, not missing anything where people from a different country participated with great enthusiasm. What can be a greater bliss!


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