Good Day Cork's Podcast

Chats about Diwali I Festival of Lights I Shantie & Jo I Part 1

November 13, 2020 Good Day Cork Season 1 Episode 1
Good Day Cork's Podcast
Chats about Diwali I Festival of Lights I Shantie & Jo I Part 1
Show Notes Transcript

Happy Diwali! Shubha Diwali!

Shantie Carroll & Joanna Dukkipati exchange memories of celebrating Diwali in their home-place, the Netherlands & Bombay respectively.

Shanti & Jo live in Cork, Ireland for over 10 yrs. This conversation is to help spread positive discussions of the evolving nature of culture and traditions.

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Background music by Yellow Tunes.

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Shantie Carroll is a yoga teacher - get in touch via Instagram @shantiyogacork 

Joanna Dukkipati is steward of Good Day, Cork. 

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Please visit www.gooddaycork.com for more uplifting #MediaDiet 

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#CorkLike #Ireland #Diwali

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Happy Diwali to you,
and you. Thank you.

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Yes, so it's let's just get
into it. What is your connection

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-to Diwali?
-So I am a Hindu, I should say, and

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people say to me, oh, are you Indian?
Are you from India?

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Because, you know, when you say
you are French, you might assume

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somebody is from France or you could
be Indian, but not be

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00:00:41,540 --> 00:00:44,440
-from India.
-So I am not from India. My family

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is not from India. We have
been out of India for generations.

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You know, that's got to do
with colonialism. And that's

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00:00:51,229 --> 00:00:54,159
a completely different topic,
which we can talk about some other

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-time.
-But so I was born in South America

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-in a country called Surinam.
-And so when they went for

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00:01:01,700 --> 00:01:05,120
independence, my father moved
to the Netherlands and we followed

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00:01:05,389 --> 00:01:07,779
-several months later.
-So I grew up in the Netherlands. I

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00:01:07,879 --> 00:01:10,989
was very young when we moved
there. So I have no memories

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00:01:11,089 --> 00:01:17,629
of Surinam and growing
up in Holland...

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You know, it was in that time,
it was very much about assimilation.

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You know, like we still did
all of our rituals at home. And,

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you know, everything that my parents
grew up with, we still did

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most of that at home. But when we went
outside of the house,

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we were very much part of the society,
you know, so we did not

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walk in saris or, you know,
have the dots on your face, on your

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forehead or, you know,
anything like that, because we wanted

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to blend in. We wanted to be
part of Dutch society. And so for most

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of the people that I know
in Holland, in the Netherlands,

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when we were growing up in the 70s
and 80s, 90s, this is how we want

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to be. You know, we wanted
to be seen as Western or some.

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And we would behave as well
as outside of the house, but then

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you go in the house and you'd
be Indian or Surinamese-Indian,

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which was fine, like
we never hated who we were.

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And we we embrace everything
that our parents throw at us except,

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-you know, one or two things.
-But we would always celebrate

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-Christmas.
-You know, we always celebrated

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Easter, but maybe not going
to the church because, you know,

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we're not Catholics or Protestant,
but at the same time that we would

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celebrate Diwali and also,
Holi, you know. And I keep saying this

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to people all the time. India
is so big you couldn't possibly have

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two families that do
things exactly the same way,

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especially when you have
dozens and dozens and dozens of dieties

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to worship, you know, so there
are no two families, in my family

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on my mom's side and my dad's
side to do something exactly the same.

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So if I saw one, it would be
Diwali. You know, the preparation

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starts very early. It would be
in October or November that you'd

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have the actual Diwali days.
And we would always only celebrate

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the third day of Diwali. And we like
I know there is the five days

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of Diwali, but in my household
with my parents and my siblings,

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we never did the first day,
then the second day and then the big

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third day and then the fourth
and the fifth. So it was only ever

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the third. And we would
start maybe a good two weeks

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before that, maybe even before that.
My mother would cook certain

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dishes, you know, getting
the ingredients from the big city

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of my travel to. Few things
would already be prepared food wise.

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But then come two weeks before that,
it would just be like scrub,

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scrub, scrub. You know,
everything needs to be clean. I say maybe

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you're just preparing your
indoor living for the dark months ahead.

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Maybe it can be seen as that
and maybe other people say, no,

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you are doing it because this
particular diety, you know,

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you're going to welcome him
or her into your nice, clean house.

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And the better it looks,
maybe they will actually come and drop

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off and grant you all
your wishes and wants.

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Maybe it's some of that. So I don't
think my mother would make

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-with flour and water
-And it's kind of like the roti

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-dough.
-No, but she would make little

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cups, and my mother used to make
her own ghee, and then we use

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cotton wool and she put the cotton
wool in the ghee in the cup that

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was made from dough. And we would
light the diyas, the little oil

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lamps. We would only
light the lamps at sunset.

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00:05:01,070 --> 00:05:03,579
So, you know, come home from school.
There was no artificial

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00:05:03,679 --> 00:05:07,479
light on in the house and mum
had cooked, house is nice and warm

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00:05:07,579 --> 00:05:11,169
and everything. And then at sunset
we would light the lights

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00:05:11,269 --> 00:05:14,859
and we would all like the lights
together and a each room

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00:05:14,959 --> 00:05:18,489
of the house would get a lamp.
And that was really special. So we'd

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-be standing around in the kitchen.
-My mom would have a lovely tray

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and she'd put all the lamps on it,
all the lights, and then she'd

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light them one by one
and, you know, we'd get one like

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it wouldn't be the dough in our hands.
All the door would be

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-on a...
-In a bowl or in on a little plate

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of some sort, you know,
safety first always, and then we would

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carry that into the room that
you were assigned to put it. My mom

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had a white cotton cloth and it was quite
big. And she put that

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on the ground in my parents
bedroom. And so my mom would sit

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and we'd sit around her in a circle
and then she would say,

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your prayers know, not always
giggle because it's the prayers.

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00:06:07,140 --> 00:06:10,790
You know, there is Om Shanti,
Shanti and my name .. we'd all be

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giggling then my sister
would be like She's praying for you.

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And we do the prayers and she'd
bless us and and then we go

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in the kitchen and then, you know,
stuff our faces. We get to eat all

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-the special Diwali food.
-So there'd be all these dishes

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that, you know, you don't eat
at another time of the year for us

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because they're
are very intensive make.

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But maybe it's also because,
you know, trying to keep it special.

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You know, as soon as Holi
comes, it's one after the other

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and and not just Hindu
festivals, even other religions, you know,

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there's even Eid also in between.
And sometimes what happens is Eid,

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Diwali and Christmas
will come back to back.

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So that has happened quite a few
times for me when I was growing

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up. So it's very difficult
to segregate it all, you know.

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And so, you know we live in apartment
buildings in Bombay.

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Most of us do anyway, and is different
people practicing

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different faiths, living
in different ways. And these

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are people from different
parts of India. So different different

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people of different faiths
from different parts of India have

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their own different
beautiful rituals and ways of celebrating

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all these festivals.
And you get to be a part

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of it because we are in such intimate
proximity with each other

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and all festivals are communal.
So even that house so (at) Diwali,

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you don't have to cook in our house,
we don't need to eat sweet

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sweets or buy sweets, make
sweets because the neighbours have made

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sweets and they come to our house
and then you get to rate -

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which aunty made, which sweet
better, you know, because we call

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all the neighbours aunties
and uncles, we don't take them

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by their names. They're
all related to you, but they're

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related to you in different
ways because they've seen you grow up.

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So we just call all our elders
aunties and uncles. Hmm this

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auntie made this sweet
'pedha' better than that. Or I think no,

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I think she bought that, you know,
all that carry on....that

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aspect the sharing of food.
Then there is the shopping.

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The shopping is intense.
Oh, my God.

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In Bombay, it is intense
because that's that's only my frame

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of reference, Bombay. So every
day there's a new outfit. Every day

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the rangoli is changed. Every
day the flowers are changed. Every day

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-the diya is lit or of course, now.
-But, you know, it's about

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bling-ing the house out
with the best lights possible.

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And, you know, and that could
even include LED crazy lights, like

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a light performance outside
each perosn's house. So it's like

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if you've got any kind of issues
with light sensitive, you know,

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it's not really good for that.
Ofcourse with the bright lights

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comes the the aspect of bursting
crackers, firecrackers,

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which causes all sorts of crazy
s**** pollution. And they're made

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in very questionable
circumstances. But people still

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buy them every year and kind
of breathe. And God forbid you have

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Asthma - it's kind of crazy.
So I'm trying to paint a balanced

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picture of what it is, what
Diwali is like. And many times every year

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people say, please have
a noise-less Diwali noise,

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-noise-free Diwali.
-So that's there's that commercial

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capitalistic perspective. And the other
thing during the Diwali

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is because it's also the beginning
of the new year and in the Hindu

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calendar, isn't it? I think
yes, it is. So many business-people

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00:10:04,219 --> 00:10:08,690
start their books. And so there's
a wonderful pooja around that as

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00:10:08,789 --> 00:10:16,100
well. And that's quite
special. And people buy a lot of gold

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during Diwali because that's
again, auspicious and there's lots

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-of Diwali parties.
-You know, it's like Christmas time

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there's parties and even
during Eid people will call

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you for eating lovely
biryani that's made at home.

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And so sometimes if Diwali,
Eid and Christmas happen very close

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-to each other. Right....
-So you've got biryani come from

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the other auntie's house.
You've got sweets, 'pedhas' come

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from the other auntie's
house. My mother would have sent cake

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-to everybody.
-So it's quite an amalgamation of

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00:10:49,619 --> 00:10:53,010
cultures. That's that's my experience.
That's what's been

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my experience of Diwali.