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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

NaBloPoMo 2018: Day 6: A Social Experiment on Deepavali

I have many more memories of my childhood Deepavali celebrations. But writing about them will take much more than the 400-word limit I’ve set myself, so I’ll reserve the topic for after this blogathon. Instead, I’ll tell you about a new memory created today – thanks to my son.

My son, I, my sister-in-law and her daughter were lighting crackers on the road outside the building. 


This is one of the side roads, so few vehicles move along occasionally. A little after we had begun, my son decided he wanted to wish people for the festival and greeted everyone passing by with an “Anna, happy Deepavali!” or “Aunty, happy Deepavali,” or “Ajji, happy Deepavali!” and when he saw someone who looked North Indian or was talking Hindi, it was, “Bhaiyya, happy Deepavali!”

We asked him why he was doing this and he said he wanted to see how people react, and how many give a positive response. I found myself intrigued by his experiment.

Those driving fast looked startled at first. Some who quickly registered what he was saying either smiled, or raised a hand in greeting, or themselves responded with a “Thank you,” “Same to you,” or a “Happy Deepavali” of their own. 

A small percentage were so surprised that they braked and slowed down or stopped to ask what he was saying. I pointed this out to my son and suggested it was better he didn’t wish those who were driving quite fast, because they’d get distracted, and maybe lose balance or focus on the road.

People who were driving slowly and pedestrians had more time to respond with a wish of their own, and most did. 

One elderly gentleman who was walking by responded by saying he was worried the kids would get hurt while bursting the crackers. To him, my son replied saying, “Don’t worry, Uncle, we’re doing it carefully.” And determined to make his wish register, he repeatedly said, “Happy Deepavali.” But the senior citizen was lost in his own anxiety, saying that one reads in the newspapers of accidents etc, reminding us of the kids’ grandmother, who’s my mother-in-law.

A young girl walking by smiled broadly thanked him very sweetly and wished not just him but me too a Happy Deepavali. Turning to me, my son commented, “See? That’s the perfect way to respond.”

One elderly lady smiled, thanked him, and walked along; to her, he said, "Why only thank you, Aunty? Wish me, too!"

Out of about 50 people my son wished, only 4 showed absolutely no response. 

As we were winding up, I asked my son what he'd learned from his experiment. “Most people respond positively,” he said.

I’m praying the inference he’s drawn today will serve him well in the years to come. On that note, "Happy Deepavali" dear readers!


14 comments:

  1. Madam,
    Wish you and your family a very happy Deepawali

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    1. Thank you, Sir ! Best wishes for a happy and bright year ahead!

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  2. I was thinking of sanath today. His favorite star's movie released today and I felt it was important to ask him what his plans are or his review is for the movie. And here comes your article with him being the protagonist. Lovely, I could not have expected any lesser from Sanath. Bravo..

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    1. Thank you, Shilpa! He wanted to catch the movie on the first day; I told him to put it off for another day saying festival day should be spent with family at home. He's planning to go today or tomorrow.

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  3. Happy deepavali to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you, Kshama! Best wishes to you too!

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  4. If one propagates the others respond.Happy Deepavali Sanath

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    1. Very true! Thank you, and happy Deepavali to you too!

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    1. Thank you, Rajiv! Happy Deepavali to you too !

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  6. Lovely child 😊
    Someone once said elders always are over anxious teaching (on the contrary we scare them of what not to do) kids infact there's more we can learn from kids and with incidents such as these only make me believe it stronger.
    Shubha Deepavali to you and your wonderful family one more time he he he!
    Thanks, Madhavi Paranjape

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    1. Thank you for saying "lovely child", Madhavi. He is his own person, and although my contribution to him turning out like this is small, I can't help but feel happy and proud when he's appreciated :-) Indeed, there's so much we can learn from kids, if only we didn't insist on imposing our will on them always!

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