It was a memorable last weekend, to say the least. For starters, it was a long weekend, when we didn’t have to sacrifice a festival holiday.
It happened to be the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that woke the USA up to a reality of terrorism, which we living in the Indian sub-continent have had no choice but to live with for the last 50 years, or, more, and, cried ourselves hoarse without much results.
It was also a day when the biggest Muslim festival Eid-ul-Fitr coincided with the start of one of the biggest Hindu festivals, Ganesh Chaturthi. This was especially poignant that given the bigger half of the world’s nations are divided over politics of religion, we had a rare chance at secular celebrations and national integration. India is one of the largest democracies, and one with many imperfections; but, one where despite the communal animosities, both Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi are celebrated with equal fervor, feasting, and, fan fare.
And, of course, being the secular nation that we are, all our festival celebrations, sans the religiosity ultimately focus on food. Food is almost like a vehicle of national integration that unites people across diverse communities, making them forget differences, even if for a day and appreciate the rare chance to celebrate sinfully, and, eat kebabs and biriyanis together with modaks and motichurs on the same day.