Share Your Thoughts

India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

April means happiness

April is a month that has always signified happiness for me. In America, April means budding flowers, birds chirping, and winter bidding adieu at last – making way for a light and joyous anticipation.

In India on the other hand, April is hot. Koyals moan for rain in mango-adorned trees while crows cunningly plot to get to the mangoes before any other creature. School is out and children look for ways to pass time in idle splendor waiting for the hot afternoons to pass.

Every year, April brings vibrant flashes to my mind of festivities that were part of my life in India. I have a little secret: April also is my birth month. The story goes that the year I was born, my birthday fell on Ram Navamithe birthday of Lord Ram. As a child, each year when the Hindu calendar came out, I rushed to check when Ram’s birthday was, because that way I got to celebrate two birthdays. I created a kinship with Lord Ram which has continued over the years.

April celebrates Hanuman

After the opulent celebration, just a few days later came the birthday of Hanuman, Lord Ram’s chief disciple. The Monkey God was and still is one of the most fascinating mythical characters for children. And I was no different.

A block down from me was the Hanuman temple. On Hanuman Jayanti, the small temple became a hub for the neighborhood children. The pull of temple bells, sweet treats, fragrant garlands of marigolds made by a row of local women, and the trail of incense smoke made my heart burst with joy. It was an added bonus that the traveling Ferris wheel parked outside the temple! Artis and gurgles combined in a resonating melody like none other!

Easter & Eid

Festivals of other faiths also interweaved themselves into our lives. Our old family friend, Uncle Abdullah, always brought us biryani and Sewai for Eid. I can still picture him walking into the door of our apartment in Bombay: an ancient man of tall and robust stature, impeccably dressed, and always punctual. Every time I think of Eid, it is he who first comes to mind. Such a sweet memory. And then there were catholic neighbors who hosted Easter parties. With a belly full of Goan treats, I often accompanied them to the Easter services at their church to embrace the positive message of hope and new life.

In my cosmopolitan neighborhood, the celebration of Baisakhi did not lag far behind either. Equally close to my house was a Gurudwara where Baisakhi was celebrated with aplomb. There I learned about the significance of the day when Guru Gobind Singh, the last Sikh Guru, established the term and concept of Khalsa.

Sibling day

This year in America, as I bask in the spring sun on sleepy afternoons with my newborn, I have received an unmatchable gift of festivity. Suddenly a new celebratory day has appeared in my life. Being an only child, I had never known of or celebrated National Siblings Day.  One does not see what doesn’t apply to them until it does. In November of last year, I had my second child. His arrival plunged my consciousness into the new world of siblings.

Two boys lean against a car
Siblings leaning against a car (image courtesy: pixabay)

In my older son, I see the delight and apprehension associated with having a baby brother and in my little baby, I see complete awe and fascination for his older brother. With butterflies in my tummy, I witness this change. As a child, I had many friends and many cousins and never felt that I missed out on having a sibling. But now I see this incomparable bond burgeoning in a new light.

I see that my boys will laugh, cry, fight and bond together in a way that will be new for me to experience.  I will have no idea how to manage the chaos and the joy, but I will learn because it will be through them I will vicariously live the love of siblings. And just as I loved being the only one brushing my teeth in the bathroom as a child before laying my head on a sole pillow, now I will rest in peace knowing that my boys will have each other to look at in the mirror before a raucous pillow fight.

Earbuds, here I come!

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of India Currents. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, organization, individual or anyone or anything.

Preeti Hay has a Bachelor's degree in Mass Media and Journalism and a Master's degree in English Literature, majoring in Post Colonial Literature. She has worked for Indian publications including The Times...