1. a happy belated Diwali to everybody! I hope yours was lovely; mine started out frustrating but ended up awesome, complete with dosai, kids with sparklers, a pandit chanting Ramanama, and a grumpy older gent scolding people for shooting off bottle rockets. It culminated in filling the house with the smell of burning ghee and the light of about a dozen diyas. I also managed to drape a sari pretty darn well for a white lady (I’ve been practicing). Didn’t work up the courage to take a blessing from the priest with everyone else, but I’m going back to the same temple on Sunday, so there you go.
2. Happy New Year/Annakut! Today marks roughly one year of me publicly acknowledging that I am a follower of sanatana dharma, and while it’s had its ups and downs, I’m pretty proud of myself for making it this far. (Let’s not talk about the pseudo-temper-tantrum I threw last night when my initial plans fell through; it wasn’t pretty, and I’ve still got a long way to go with this whole maya thing.)
3. Today, as is fitting for a new year, new beginnings, etc, I did something big and very new for me. I went to temple by myself.
No, really. I did.
I was supposed to meet a friend at the BAPS mandir, and then he said meet his friend (or his wife), neither of whom showed up. Much to my surprise (and mostly because I was out of the car already), I decided to go ahead and go on in, and took darshan of the lovely arrangements of sweets and foods. I did some meditation, I thanked Rama and Shiva both (and all the gurus and Krishna – this was a big step for me) for giving me the courage to overcome my insecurities and go ahead with it, and felt pretty good about things. And then I wandered outside, seeing a small group of people around a set of styrofoam containers. I stopped a woman and asked her what was going on and then suddenly my arms were full of sabzi and sweets. I have a big tray of rasmalai in the fridge. While she went and fetched dish after dish, I chatted with her mother in my broken Hindi, and between that and her broken English, we had a lovely conversation. I left them with a “Jai Swaminarayan!” and went back to work. Their names were Nitu and Jaya. I had a short conversation with Jaya about Jaya Bachchan. I’m feeling very proud of this.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY (so far, it’s had a pretty darned auspicious beginning)!