Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Christmas in Kolkata

When I got on the plane (during Mercury retrograde AND a super full Moon) to come to India in early December, I had pretty much accepted there would be no "Hark the Herald Angles Sing" for me. The Christmas season in the UK had just about started in earnest and to be honest, I really wasn't all that fussed about not seeing any reindeer. To me it just seemed like a small price to pay for the adventure of a lifetime! I could sing along with the Christmas carols on youtube.
Churi and I rocking around a Christmas Tree in Kolkata
But as Christmas loomed closer, I started to get little pangs of missing the ho ho hos, the excitement of the children and that two week break. It didn't last too long--we've been working very hard here and I just got into the swing of things to the point I kept forgetting the Western world was starting to shut down for the holiday. And then one evening, I noticed there WERE Christmas lights starting to appear. And Christmas trees!
On reflection, my surprise is pretty silly. We celebrate Diwali, Chinese New Year, Eid and Hanukkah in London so why would I think Christmas wouldn't be celebrated or at the very least acknowledged in India? I mean globalisation, right?
In my own defence, it is abundantly clear that East and West view the world in completely different ways. The biggest difference? The West looks at the East as its poorest relation I think. Westerners look at every day life here in India and feel a sense of pity because of the poverty.
Just hold that thought for a moment.
A sense of pity because of the poverty.
Churni, Gopal and I with a reindeer or two
My experiences in India have taught me that there are two kinds of poverty: a material one and a poverty of the spirit. It's like the West is trained to look at the outside and the East is trained to look past outward appearances. I see the Western perception of "poverty" here but I also see tremendous joy and gratitude. I love the way nothing is really broken and thrown away: anything can be fixed here. I like it that life if seen as inter-connected: astrology, palmistry, gemology and yoga are just branches of the same discipline. Life is "modern" here and I can't think of a single thing that I miss (other than people which something different altogether).

Of course with the conference coming up, it's all very hectic and as a first time organiser of such a major international event, it's a very steep learning curve. My laptop sure is getting a workout. I hope it lasts! So from me to you, the Merriest Solstice how ever you celebrate it!

More Christmas lights than Oxford Circus: Park Street, Kolkata


UPDATE: 21 February 2018
Oh great goddess, you mean I forgot to publish this! Busy times. . .Trying to catch up with my blog this week.

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