Sunday, October 24, 2010
Most if not all festivals have rituals that we don't understand and makes us feel like are punching a ticket as we go through the journey of life. But at least they are grounded in one religion or the other and so have some religious reason to answer most of the "why do we do this" type questions. At that point it depends on your belief system to follow the festival or not. And good food + quality family time + a chance to say some religious prayers generally makes up for unanswered questions.
In America, I understand Christmas. I like the season and the festive mood. I don't celebrate Christmas. I am not a Christian and don't want to celebrate Christmas just to pretend and show-off to others that I am a progressive secular person. But I get it. I know why people celebrate it and it looks very charming in western countries. I usually go to parties when I am invited. Even if it is by desis and even if there is no Christian involved. I do find it odd that a non-Christian desi, who doesn't celebrate his own religion's festivals, invites 10 'thayir saadham' families for Christmas. I am totally judgmental on them when they say that they do it because their children, who have been brought up on the Santa Claus myth, "don't want to get disappointed" and can go and tell their white classmates that they celebrated Christmas with family too. I don't think the children will be disappointed and I don't think they have that many white kids in their class. But I don't object. Puliyodharai and Thayir Saadham is served in that party and I will go. Thanksgiving - I don't get it. However, I don't detest it that much because people don't invite me to eat dead birds. Halloween I detest.
Halloween scrapes the bottom of low I.Q. festivals. This to me represents people who can't think for themselves and make their own decisions. The word reminds me of mindless 'saaraya bottil' teenagers (and other adults with low I.Q.) who have fun by claiming to have fun. What are we celebrating here? Ghosts? What is there to celebrate about? It is not religion? It is neither science nor a Star Trek convention? It seems like people are dressing up as ghosts to visit american versions of TASMAC. Why? More importantly why are desis celebrating Halloween? I generally look down upon people who ask me "So what are your plans for Halloween?". I am a desi. I don't know how to answer that question. In my country we didn't know what this word meant when we grew up. That is until the so called "modern people" from Bangalore and certain parts of Adyar began to pretend they were westerners and started celebrating Halloween in their houses. I certainly looked down upon them And how does one "celebrate" Halloween? Most desis I know hit the saarayam, shout like dummies on the street, dance to bhangra music and call that celebrating Halloween. I don't want to dress up like an ugly ghost. I think most people who dress up like ghosts look like idiots. I get the boys who celebrate Halloween to get some girl drunk and then try and get her laid. That I respect. But most desis I know celebrate Halloween with other desis I know. All of them are married and generally not looking to get laid.
Recently, I was asked by a desi woman with a 18 month old baby - what Halloween plans I had for my 18 month old baby? Really! Why? The only reason I see people spending money on this is to satisfy themselves. Babies don't know about Halloween. Getting together with other Desis for a potluck, dressing babies up as ghosts and posting those photos in facebook is probably the most loser thing ever. No amount of Puliyodharai and Thayir Saadham in that potluck can compensate for that. Cowgirl is spot on about PseudoMaamis. The real 'Maami' is dead.