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In this poignant verse, Lily tells us the story of Diwali. Here’s her take on the Festival of Lights, in the special feature on Diwali, for Different Truths.

The beauteous city of Ayodhya 
Iridescent with luminosity 
Bathed in the holy haze of 
Heavenly haloes 
Welcoming with whoops of joy 
The son  who went to the forest 
The obedient boy who bowed to his step mom’s bidding 
The city streets resplendent with expectation 
Waiting eagerly at their doorsteps 
To catch sight of their holy prince 
Lord Rama the Suryavanshi came home 
That dark Amavasya night 
He came to occupy his rightful place 
On the throne where his wooden slippers sat – the symbolic 
khadaao of Rama

Whether it is the moksha diwas of Jains 
Or the bandi chhor diwas of Sikhs 
Millions of flickering earthen lamps 
Proclaim with a hurrah 
That evil always loses 
That light breaks through the dark 
That each Amavasya has a moonlit night in its wake

Welfare and prosperity beseeched from Ganesha
Wealth and wisdom from Goddess Lakshmi 
Booty and bounty they told us 
Comes only to a sparkling home

Perhaps that’s why we leave all the clutter 
In our disgusted dishevelled depleted minds 
Filled with garbage of incestuous thoughts 
Jam packed with pornography infused slumber   
Grabbing viciously at grilled livers
Of hapless victims of our usury

While our homes get a designer make over 
Our bodies wear  the hottest pick of the season
Aha orange is the new black 
Or was it green pray?

Our minds prey upon the needy 
The innocent and the wayward 
We let the filth of generations invade our pristine souls 

How much easier it was to white wash our ancestors mud walls with lime and chuna 
It&’s blowing up a fortune for our over fed grossly obese or overly bulimic child now 
Miles upon miles of firecrackers biting the dust 
Rockets with incandescent showers 
Creating fountains of rainbow mirth 
In the smoke laden asthma choked skyline 
Basketful of palm greasing 
Corruption laced gifts 
Towering in the boots of swanky long cars 
This is Diwali too !
The musical cacophony in garish cafes and bistros
The gaudy painted faces of inebriated youth 
It’s a far cry from the sound of temple bells and incense soaked Rudraksha Beads

May Maa Lakshmi be benevolent 
As the pompous pedantic pujas are performed for her 
May she smile indulgently at her materialistic avaricious children 
May she impart the wisdom of spiritual treasures to her shanti seeking hordes 
May the light of knowledge permeate 
The thick pall of ignorance 
May we rise above the elaborate rituals and rites 
And light a single candle for an orphan child instead 
May we impart the flame of education to a deserving student 
Instead of worrying about the quality of pure ghee in our lamps and halwa 
May we gift our parents with the sweet scent of love 
Instead of heaping their tables with spurious sweets 
May the poorest of the poor eat one warm meal with a full stomach 
In place of gaudy revelry in crazily priced five star hotels 
Let me hug the girl who mops my floors and buy her a pretty lehnga choli and whisper in her
shy ears 
Happy Diwali Munni!

©Lily Swarn

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