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Diwali Festival of Light

Author by Faren Rajkumar

The entire Desh-Videsh Media Group team warmly welcomes Faren Rajkumar as its newest staff writer. Faren’s background and experience both with journalism and creative writing makes her an ideal member of our growing team.

My year always begins anew on the darkest of nights. For as long as I can remember, Diwali has been a night of quiet family togetherness. We are unified by peaceful silence, each of us aware of our individual duties, but still connected. My mom makes sweets and decorates the family shrine, my dad gathers the diyas and candles, and my sister and I make garlands of flowers and draw colorful rangoli patterns outside of the house. When the sun finally sets, we do puja and prepare to light diyas in and around the house, and most importantly, acknowledge the significance of our new year holiday.

In a world full of so much darkness, hatred, and conflict, Diwali is more important than ever. As we fill each clay diya with ghee, the fuel for each lamp’s little flame, we remember that we must regularly refill our inner lamps so that we can burn brightly every day. I’m a busy college student preparing for graduate school and living in an environment full of distractions, and some days, I scarcely have time to pray, let alone do puja or read scriptures. But I look forward to going home to visit my family, because they are my way of refilling. We have informal satsang, listen to bhajans, attend temple together and do puja.

As I light each diya and place them around the dark house, I remember that flame doesn’t lose its light when it gives to another, just as a bright and content soul doesn’t lose anything from giving selflessly to the community and to the world. I am each little flame dancing in the dark, finding my way in a hectic and challenging world, learning to adapt to the demands of my millennial generation while staying true to the ancient source of light that defines all Hindus. I am proud to share with others when my new year begins, because it is chance for me to reflect on what I’ve achieved in the past year, and what I would like to do with the next 365 days until I light the lamps again.

About the Author
Faren Rajkumar is a senior English Honors student at Nova Southeastern University, where she is also the editor-in-chief of Digressions lierary magazine and a library student assistant. She has been a college-level writing tutor for several years, and does freelance writing and editing for several companies. Faren recently completed a writing program at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, and is pursuing an MFA degree in Creative Writing and a career in writing and education. Her essays and articles on Hinduism have appeared in numerous publications, including The Huffington Post and Hinduism Today. Faren has been a long-time volunteer in the Hindu community and with the Hindu American Foundation, and several years ago, completed the Bala Vihar program at South Florida Hindu temple. She maintains a regular poetry and photography blog called “Wanderling”, and writes creatively in her spare time. Faren is also a classically-trained violinist of 16 years, and teaching private lessons using Suzuki and traditional methods.