Wednesday night, heading into the early hours of Thursday, the last day of Diwali, I was sick. I could not stop coughing, sneezing and sniffling. So at nearly 2 a.m. I got up to have a cup of tea, knowing that would make it even harder to sleep. And I had to be at my office by 8 a.m. to start a 13 hour work day.
I had serious doubts about my ability to make it for my 8-4:30 shift, but I figured if I slept it off, I could make it for my 5-9 that night. I finished my tea, and went back to bed, having soothed my throat, fully intending to wake up early and call in to work. But 7:15 came around (my wife let me sleep late) and it was now or never. I sat up and saw my shrine to Vishnu and decided to go.
I struggled until 4:30 but made it, and went to my night job immediately following, only to find that the game-plan on our project had changed. I hate it when the game plan changes when we have a room full of new-ish people who may not catch onto how things go, quickly. I supervise at a market research call center (telephone surveys), and to make it more interesting, in lieu of the normal computerized study, it was decided that we had to do a part at the beginning on paper then switch to the computers after a minute on each survey.
I thought this was going to be one of the longest nights of my life. So when an employee came in late, I thought I’d have a little fun with her. She came in talking about how her paycheck was over due for both of her jobs, and her rent was due, and to top it all off, her watchband broke right there and then in front of me as she regaled me with the miseries of her day. “Well your day is about to get a whole lot better!” I said as sarcastically as possible. When I told her about the changes in the study, she looked like she wasn’t sure if she should laugh or cry but she said “That’s it? I thought you were going to fire me for being late!” She happily went to work on this android of a study.
Her good humor showed me that it wasn’t so bad. And the night came off without a hitch for me, really. But when I came home, it was to news of a situation I guess I had been missing building up. Israel was at war with the Hamas, rockets and bombs and bullets were flying everywhere, and many had been killed. A situation which never seems to fully cool off had been set ablaze again.
Then today an oil tanker had blown up in the Atlantic Gulf, killing workers and covering the Gulf in an oily sheen, putting in jeopardy all the progress that has been made in the cleanup following Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill of 2010. And surely it will cause a panic that gasoline prices will skyrocket further.
You take these, along with the impending discontinuation of the brand “Twinkie” and you’ve got disaster for all people of sattwic, rajasic or tamasic personality.
Okay, the Twinkie thing is a joke.
But thinking back to Diwali, the festival when we celebrate the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, and you start to see how what we celebrate on Diwali is an ideal, not a reality. It is not as though actual Good and Light sweep over the world during that time. For these disasters to erupt just after Diwali is for me a stark reminder of the truth of what another blogger/friend of mind said in a blog recently. That we have to do it ourselves sometimes. We have to take personal responsibility for our world.
Diwali is supposed to inspire up for the coming year to work together to maintain this world while we’re in it. To try to see to it that death and destruction, though inevitable as a whole, are avoided when avoidable. And when I say “when avoidable” I mean that nationalistic, religious hatred, border wars, and greed over oil and pillaging the Earth of Her resources when unnecessary.