To celebrate Diwali, Newtown Library recently hosted a fun-filled family storytelling event, where guest author Rajorshi Chakraborti treated the multi-generational audience to a special introduction of ‘Diwali Words‘, an original work written for the event. His words eloquently encapsulated the spirit of Diwali and the importance of every person striving to bring light into our world. Raj then dove into an animated reading of the Pasifika book ‘Dharma’s Diwali‘. Our librarian Asha captivated the young ones with a lively sing-along to ‘The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk’. Then, the experts got to work with a sari-draping demonstration as children and adults alike donned colourful saris and posed for instant photo prints. Check out some of the fun moments from the event that also included enjoying local Indian sweets, chai and impromptu Bollywood dancing! Raj has kindly let us share his original words on Diwali below.
by Rajorshi Chakraborti
Having a chance to speak at this wonderful occasion made me think about what I would say about the spirit of Diwali that would translate across different age groups, cultural backgrounds and personal beliefs, and the two parts that came to me to emphasise were: the idea of being a carrier of light, and the truth that if you’re walking a path towards good, even if you start out alone, you will attract friends and allies.
We all know that bringing light into the world can take many forms. Every single act that is helpful or kind, every considerate word we speak, each thing of beauty that we make and share, each new interesting thing we learn, are all moments of creating or offering light. And it is something we do all the time in our ordinary lives, not only what heroes do, or legendary figures in great stories. I would love for you to go away remembering that each one of us has this power, to make more light. With something we have learnt, or made, or simply when we have noticed through paying attention that a kind word or act from us will make a situation better, or someone else feel better, we are creating light. We are being a Diwali lamp. And we can choose to be this way all the time, just by looking out for opportunities within our daily lives.
And another message I wanted to share from Ram’s story, the story that led to the celebration of Diwali, is that a carrier of light might start out alone, and even feel surrounded by darkness, but sooner or later the light will spread. There is a period in Ram’s story, the Ramayana, when he is very far from his goal. His brother, who loves him, is beside him, but they are going to need a lot more help. And the main reason that help comes is because others are inspired by the person Ram is and the justice of his cause. They see the light of truth and goodness within him, which makes them join him and help him reach his goal.
So, if you can find the courage to continue with something because you believe in what you’re trying for, even if you’ve started out alone, others will be drawn to your light. And together, you can glow brighter than you could ever have imagined, and reach your goal, which once seemed far away.
So, just remember these four words, and the spirit of Diwali will always be within you. I can make light.
And then watch the magic unfold – the magic of other people responding with their light to the light coming from you.
Rajorshi Chakraborti was born in Kolkata and grew up there and in Mumbai, and now lives in Wellington with his family. He has published six novels and a collection of short fiction, and his latest work is a novel for young readers co-written with his daughter, Leela, and it is called – The Bad Smell Hotel. You can find out more about Raj’s books at www.rajorshichakraborti.nz.
We’d like to thank Raj for reading at our Diwali celebration and generously allowing us to share his original work. Thank you to everyone in the community who attended this event and made it such a special celebration!