As I sit in the warmth of my home, surrounded by the soft glow of fairy lights and the sweet scent of incense, I can’t help but reflect on the profound privilege I have to celebrate Diwali away from the harsh realities of war and conflict zones.
The festival of lights, a time of joy, togetherness, and dazzling displays, takes on a new significance when viewed against the backdrop of a world torn apart by violence.
In the safety of my peaceful surroundings, it’s easy to immerse myself in the vibrant colors, the laughter of loved ones, and the crackling sounds of firecrackers that punctuate the festive air.
But in a parallel reality, those very sounds could be the signs of destruction, the ominous echoes of bombs and rockets that shatter lives and dreams.
It’s a stark reminder of the world’s inherent contradictions and the stark disparities in our experiences. While I revel in the beauty of tradition and celebration, there are children, adults, families huddled together in fear, their lives disrupted by the relentless drumbeat of war.
The same moment I savour a festive meal, someone else is cowering in uncertainty, dreading the next explosion that could alter their existence forever.
The sheer dichotomy of our realities is difficult to ignore. How do we, the privileged ones, reconcile our enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures with the knowledge that, just beyond our cocoon of comfort, there are those grappling with the harsh, unrelenting forces of conflict?
The dichotomy becomes even more glaring when I consider the paradox of celebrating with firecrackers.
The same dazzling lights and sounds that bring me joy may well be the source of terror for those in war-torn regions.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow — the realization that the very acts of celebration may be a source of trauma and fear for others.
As I revel in the festivities, it is incumbent upon myself to acknowledge my privilege and engage in introspection.
It’s not about guilt but rather a recognition of the broader context in which I exist. How can I, with a clear conscience, enjoy the safety and abundance bestowed upon me while countless others endure the horrors of conflict?
Diwali, with its symbolic triumph of light over darkness, offers me an opportunity for reflection and empathy.
Instead of turning a blind eye to the harsh realities of war, I’m using this occasion to extend my compassion beyond my immediate circles.
And I hope our festivities will be a beacon of hope, not just for ourselves, but for all those yearning for a glimpse of light in the darkest corners of our shared humanity.
Legend has it that once upon a time, Jay was a creative + marketing director with an inquisitive mind, positioned somewhere between a strategist, designer and a writer.
After immersing himself in the world of marketing + advertising for numerous years, he now returns to the core of his creative odyssey — graphic design, visual arts, and creative writing.
From always trying something new to occasionally making photos “speak”, he’s known to express his passion for problem-solving, creativity, philosophy and humour by playing with various canvases.