Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trick or Treating on Diwali

There were two princesses –
one with curls of chocolate, another of amber,
two fluffs in lavender tulle,
tiaras and blinking shoes.

They flounced and twirled at each door, and
announced their royal names. They fluttered
their lashes and invited neighbors to gush at the glitter.
With skirts raised, they raced
from house to house, only their giggles reaching
before they did.

When an Indian man opened one door,
one Princess peered inside and saw
people she knew well --
a woman in a salwaar-kameez and
a sari-clad grandmother behind her.

Candy fell into her bag, but
she stood there.
Waiting for more.
Waiting for something that should come next.
Something should be said.

 “Happy Halloween.”
"Happy Diwali," she said softly.

Like a firecracker that was lit,
laughter was sparked.
The grandmother scurried
to see the Indian princess.
“Happy Diwali!” we all cheered.

She found her spirit and called
“Happy Diwali!” as she sprinted
to join her regal friend
who asked, "What is dee-wali?
I don't know dee-wali,"

"It's an Indian holiday.
Not everyone celebrates Diwali.
Everybody celebrates Halloween!"
as they ran to the next house.

She knew.
She has a holiday to call her own.
More than a footnote,
more than a date on a paper thin calendar
with a multi-hued multi-armed goddess.

A real holiday to light candles,
Share cookies and laddoos,
light firecrackers and sparklers.
Clinking bangles, twinkling bindis.
and spinning in a silk ghagra meant
for an Indian princess.