Happy Diwali (and Three Years in Singapore)

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Today, we celebrate our fourth Diwali in Singapore. We also commemorate the third anniversary of our arrival here.

So, on this very special day, I leave you with a poem by Sarojini Naidu, poet, Indian independence activist, and the first woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress:

Lakshmi*, The Lotus-Born 

Thou who didst rise like a pearl from the ocean,
Whose beauty surpasseth the splendour of morn!
Lo! We invoke thee with eager devotion,
Hearken, O Lotus-born?

Come! with sweet eyelids and fingers caressing,
With footfalls auspicious our thresholds adorn,
And grant us the showers and the sheaves of thyblessing,
Hearken, O Lotus-born!

Prosper our cradles and kindred and cattle.
And cherish our hearth-fires and coffers and corn,
O watch o’er our seasons of peace and of battle,
Hearken, O Lotus-born!

—From The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and Destiny, 1915-1916 by Sarojini Naidu (John Lane Company, 1917).

(*Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil, although the deities, rituals, and stories that are associated with the holiday are different in different parts of India. My family considers the third day of the five-day festival most auspicious; they believe on this day Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, visits our home. On this night of a new moon—the last night of the Hindu year—total darkness sets in the night sky. We place tiny clay lamps in our doorway so that Lakshmi can find her way.)

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