Gulf has been my home for last four years.Earlier residing in Saudi Arabia, I moved to Oman just three months ago.Being new to this place I have a very few acquaintances here and since I am slightly reserved by nature it will take sometime for me to call them friends.
Arrival of the festive season of ID and Diwali at a new place, in a new surrounding was accompanied with loneliness . This loneliness made me ponder over the last 33 festive seasons that I have witnessed in my life.There are so many childhood and teenage memories full of joys of fire cracker play, lights,decoration,sweets and togetherness of family members and friends.Also comes into my mind the Season that I celebrated as a new bride in a new surrounding with new relations.Recollection of all these experiences fills my heart with happiness and satisfaction of having celebrated each season in the best possible way.But the most unforgettable and outstanding experience is the last festive season spent in Saudi Arabia.
What makes that festive season a remarkable one , is the wonderful surrounding it was celebrated in.That year I shifted into a new house in a very regular building with 30 apartments occupied by Indians.Indians belonging to different states mainly Andhra Pradesh,Maharashtra,uttar Pradesh,Gujarat,Tamil NaduThe variety of people was further enhanced by equal no of Hindus and Muslims .All of them blended very well with each other since had been staying together for nearly four years.I being new to that house was still trying to develop some friendship with my neighbours.With the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan I was amazed to receive iftari from all Muslim neighbours on the very first day.I was further delighted by their warmth when every evening I was treated with special dishes and sweets.Soon I realised that my Hindu neighbours too volunteered and prepared iftaris for all the residents of that building .Evenings became exceptionally special with everyone exchananging their special dishes.I did not realise when I became a active participant of the whole celebration.Soon more colours were added to the season with the arrival of navratri followed by Dashera.Now the celebration was not limited only to eating delights but variation came into the atmosphere with ladies dressing up colourfully in their traditional sarees and ornaments.Chidren made the atmosphere still more special by dancing on the latest numbers in the evenings.
The celebrations reached the peak with the arrival of of both ID and Diwali.There was a grand party and both. occasions were jointly celebrated.Men,women, children all relishing the food and enjoying each others company.This blending of all Indians on a foreign land irrespective of their language,state,religion, not just for a party of few hours but for a whole month touched my heart.It is one of my most cherished seasons which will remain in the memory till the end.All my life I had celebrated only Diwali but that year I celebrated ID and Diwali together which makes that celebration a very special and distinguished one.This cultural mixing and blending still prevails in that building and that was evident when all my friends wished me happy Diwali telephonically this year.