It is the end of Paryushan in the Jain calendar when everyone goes around saying michhami dhukadam with big smiles and offerings of sweets. It is a little like the end of lent. A time of rebirth, new starts, putting old grievances aside and attempting to correct mistakes. This particular year it falls a day after Eid-al-fitr (Eid mubarak) and 2 days after Jewish New Year (Shenatova) and so is all the more poignant. I used to love this time of year. It was a day when everyone, absolutely everyone, was smiling, was happy.
But for the past few years it has been different. Maybe I have become more cynical which makes me see the falsity in smiles, the banked anger that lies behind otherwise pleasant eyes, the sneers that are quickly hidden, the brush offs that are so subtle I wonder if I’m not making them up. My mother’s sisters are so well-versed in the two-faced smile that I am taken in every year. But I must not forget the important conundrum in that it is extremely impolite NOT to say it back to someone who says it to you. I am such a hypocrite!
You are then free, for another year to be as bad as you want for, surely, you need only say Michhami Dhuakadam and all will be forgiven. Actually it is not that simple. Every Jain knows that you must never, in thought or deed, harm another. Nor must you possess more than you need for greed is seriously frowned upon. So, I admit that whilst I follow many of the Jain principles I find it hard to follow that last one. There are three things I really, really want that I most definitely do not need. The first is a usb writing pen (an inkless pen with which you write on any surface, plug into your computer and it uploads everything you wrote), 3D prescription glasses (so I don’t have to wear two pairs of glasses), a comfy armchair and a full copy of the OED. Oh, and whilst I do not believe in Santa Clause I do believe my husband will at some point read this blog entry and I am relying, totally, on his ability to facilitate at least one of my requests!