It is Diwali, and the marigolds spill out of the sellers’ baskets happily. Bright orange marigolds intermingle with fresh white and delightful yellow ones, sending out a cheerful greeting to passersby, like me: “it’s Diwali, the Festival of Lights, when good triumphs over evil and negativity! Life is wonderful!”
I stop, and take in the line of stalls and squatting sellers, who have sprung up spontaneously in time for the festival. Lines of heavy garlands hang down, some of deep orange, with the dark green leaves interspersed. Rich and bold, the marigolds evoke their name, floral gold, Nature’s festive and auspicious offerings from her colourful gardens. They dance in the flower seller’s hands, letting her weave them into strings of different sizes, to deck up entries to people’s homes. Some are happy to sit in the basket, loose and unattached, because they know they will adorn the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, as part of the puja (prayer) devoted to her.
Stall after stall, seller after seller, the road is transformed. Gold has flowered, literally, and it makes me marvel at how an entire community is participating in one big expression of joy. The marigolds are timeless, and I think about how they have marked this festival for hundred and thousands of years. The day Rama came back to Ayodhya, the streets must have looked just like this, i think. I say a silent thank you to these small little flowers, for binding me to the people gone before me, for including me in a shared celebration, and for conveying the life-affirming message of Light and Good.