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An Ode to Joy: Diwali

Post by: Kabita Sonowal

As the moment of joie de vivre has dawned, it is time to participate in and celebrate the festival of lights. On Diwali, most of us want to take it easy, let our hair down, just about vacation and chill out. It is also the approach of winter and we are already beginning to feel a nip in the air: the world seems to be so much of a happier place. There is the aroma of food wafting in the air, the smell of cracker bursts with a lot of litter bugs and litter all over the place!!! However, what the heck? And there is always something pleasant about the smell of winter. It promises a new beginning and leaves optimism lingering. In the true spirit of Diwali, joy begins where we abandon thoughts and actions of iniquity and misery and ushers in rays of hope.  This spirit dates back to mythology when the people of Ayodhya lit diyas to celebrate Ram’s return after 14 years of exile. It is a time to eat, pray, relax, love, demonstrate generosity, and read.


Despite the flurry of activities, a lot of raconteurs and readers would love to settle down with a hypnotizing book and while away their time. There are oodles and oodles of fresh literature with fresh thoughts out there on the shelves. The Man Booker shortlisted books are a riveting lot to begin from: Jules Barnes’ (2011 Man Booker Prize Winner) The Sense of an Ending, Carol Birch’s Jamrach’s Menagerie, AD Miller’s Snowdrops, Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English, Patrick Dewitt’s The Sisters Brothers, and Esi Edugyan’s Half Blood Blues. All of them are elegantly written based on poignant, weird, moving, and quirky themes. So take your pick.


Or if you want to take a walk down memory lane, I would suggest Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye which has always remained an all-time favorite among boarding school goers. Or try reading Raise High the Roof Beam Seymour again written by JD Salinger. Among travel literature, in my opinion, From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple is a brilliant-read. It is a paradigm of historical and architectural research at its very best. Or you can also try The Last Mughal and the City of Djinns by the same author. TS Eliot’s poetry would add a flavor to the season and so will Dylan Thomas’, thrillingly impeccable poetry anthology that evokes a rainbow of emotions.


Hope all of you have a splendid and safe Diwali!

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