God and I share this wonderful relationship. When I was born, He said, “Let there be light!” And my parents named me Deepti, meaning ‘light’ in Sanskrit. My grandparents were very religious, and they had this enormous pooja room filled with idols of all sizes and shapes. My favourites were the pot bellied Elephant God, who was always a ally in arms, and a tall blue Krishna who stood in a glass cabinet with a friendly smile on His face.
My parents were never temple-goers, but they made sure they never even harmed a fly, a philosophy which implied that God was in every creature. This, maybe, made me love all creatures, dogs in particular.
When my daughter was five, we were out for a walk one day. As we stopped at a traffic signal, by a temple, I suddenly noticed her making the sign of the cross. That was a huge moment for me... here was my little one acknowledging in her own way that all religions were the same; God was one, whether Rama, Allah or Christ, such a profound philosophy encapsulated in a little gesture!
When in the Army, we would celebrate every festival with equal fervour. We would immerse Ganeshas, light lamps, eat langar at gurudwaras, sit in silence within the cool interiors of a church and find joy in every moment the festival lasted. The festival of colours would find us drenched in colour, and Id would consist of mutton biryani that melted in the mouth.
Diwali is one occasion we look forward to every year, that time of the year when the whole country looks star-studded, with lights and crackers that light up the inky sky. Goddess Lakshmi glides into homes, brimming over with agarbathis, diyas, ghee-laden aromas and sheer happiness.
What better way could we choose to welcome the Goddess in than by using the Sampoorna Lakshmi Pooja Pack this year? The idea of performing our own pooja is appealing, with the shlokas playing mellifluously in the background! Our prayers have always come straight from deep within our hearts, almost as if we were having a conversation with a friend and a guide. What better way to communicate with Him than through the intonation of shlokas, the smoke of the agabathis, the sparkle of the lamps and, of course, the thought of all those wonderful sweets smiling up at us out of highly decorated boxes?
After all, God Himself loves His goodies, be it Krishna or the adorable Ganesha!