Mittwoch, 14. November 2007

Deepavali (English) - Wednesday

As there was no major event planned for us by AFS to experience the indian festivities, I asked my indian classmates and finally Kavitha gave me the chance to celebrate Deepavali with her family in a remote village on the border to Perak state.

Deepavali is originally a hinduist festival to celebrate the victory of light over darkness or evil. It is also commonly called Diwali. Deepavali is also the most significant festival in Hinduism.

Right after school on Wednesday the 7. of November Kavitha and her father fetch me in front of my house. We drove to Kavitha’s house outside Shah Alam, where her mother and sister hopped on the car. It’s a simple, friendly family. I don’t mind that they prefer to speak Malay with me. On the bumpy journey to Kavitha’s uncle’s village she teaches me some simple phrases in Tamil language. She also told me that the Tamil spoken in Malaysia is totally different from the original Tamil in southern India. Once her uncle from Tamil Nadu visited her and they couldn’t understand each other.

One hour later we reach Gedangsa, a small genuine Kampung village amidst an impressive scenery of vast oilpalm plantations, better known in Malaysia as estates. The village was set up some 40 years ago in connection with the government’s Felda project, that intended to help poor people or people that have been plagued by unemployment for a long time, by giving them a piece of land to cultivate and a house in a settlement with basic infrastructure. Most of these settlements where put up in remote locations far away from big cities. Most of the inhabitants work in the agricultural branch such as plantation workers or rubber tappers.

Upon arrival I greet all of Kavitha’s eight uncles, who are present with my Tamil phrases such as „Vanaakam“, „Ninge epedi irekingge“ and „Yen pere Craig“. All of them and their family members cordially welcome me. The air is saturated with the joss stick’s smell and the fregrance of indian spices. Quickly I reconnoiter the small house and point out two small shrines, one of the altars just next to a fat buddha statue. Although the all the people talk Tamil I quickly get into conversations with the men. They’re sitting around a table not wearing shirts and drinking scotch as I join them.

After a short walk through a part of the village we have delicious chicken curry for dinner. We men are served by the women, who don’t start to eat until the men are finished. The women also hinder me from cleaning my dishes on my own.

Later on we start to BBQ while the first fire crackers explode. At midnight a guy lits a very long chain of crackers. Everybody hugs and greets each other. Happy Deepavali! Deepavali Waltukle!

We gather together to play a game. A small child hands over small notes that request the recipient to perform a certain task. Wifes have to carry their husbands, small children must dance with old people. Everybody is laughing and the music of a car radio is turned up. It’s a girl’s birthday today. The girl and her parents follow an indian custom of feeding each other with a piece of cake, but suddenly the mother slaps the creamy pie into her husband’s face and subsequently cake is flying in all directions. Some hours later most of us go to bed.

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