Guess which one of these Rangoli Portraits is me?

An atheist friend commented that lighting diyas on Diwali is a religious thing to do. Do you think it’s possible to celebrate Diwali without feeling very religious about it?  Do you see Diwali as ‘victory of good over evil’? Whose victory was it and who benefited (or not) from that victory?

A friend and her family leave for a small beach village every Diwali (with their dog), a lot of people buy gifts and some play cards, some have family gatherings. Many make sweets at home. Many spring clean and redecorate their homes. How do you celebrate Diwali? Do you see fire crackers as an unavoidable part of Diwali celebrations? (We have not bought any fire crackers for more than twenty years now).

One of these two Diwali masterpieces is supposed to be ‘same to same’ me 🙂 [Made by an eight year old Rangoli artist] Guess which one!

1. Rangoli Portrait One.

2. Rangoli Portrait Two.

So which one do you think is me? 😉

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37 thoughts on “Guess which one of these Rangoli Portraits is me?

  1. My guess is….. The first Rangoli??
    I like lighting Diya’s on Diwali. I hate bursting crackers. In fact, the noise makes me extremely nervous (must’ve been a Horse or a Dog in my previous birth 😀 ) I spend most of Diwali happily lighting up the house with Diya’s and then curled up in a fetal position wondering when the torture would end.
    I don’t know if lighting Diya’s is a religious thing or not, but I like it, makes me happy so I do it 🙂


  2. Must be the first one because there are no traditional symbols like sindoor, anchal, red lipstick, bindi and red color. But I can see part of a rangoli.


  3. My guess is that rangoli # 1 is the self portrait of the eight year old artist, and the second is yours 🙂 Were you wearing a tiara for the session, or was it creative license by said artist? 😀


  4. Well, you cannot classify lighting of lamps as religious. It may have been originally and it may be so still for a lot of people. But you can also light lamps for the sheer beauty of it. Why should it be tagged religious unless the person involved is doing so for religious purpose?


  5. #2 is you 🙂 .. Just done with Diwali.. kind of just follow the norms..but yes, can’t imagine a Diwali without fire crackers.. I don’t spend a fortune (it could be a relative term), but not totally dry either..


  6. I light diyas or candles every year, without any religious reasons since I am a Christian! I find it disturbing to see no diyas or candles in front of our house when the rest of the world is lit up! Much like non-Christians have taken to having a Christmas tree! Happy Deepawali! 🙂 And I guess first one is you! 🙂


  7. Hey IHM, I have no idea which one is you. *Squinting really hard* Hmm, maybe no.2. Who’s the kid genius?
    It is interesting you should ask this question about what Diwali means to me. A few days ago, a friend in the US had to write a paragraph about Diwali for her 6-year-old son’s class Diwali party. I offered to write it for her. Since the audience would be six-year-old kids, most of them non-Indian, I decided to leave out references to Ram/Ravan, good v/s evil etc. What remained was a simple writeup about celebrating light, colour, joy, family, friends and food (not necessarily in that order). I realised that that pretty much sums up my feelings about Diwali. I do associate Diwali with Lakshmi pooja, though.
    Also, for people like me, it is one time when the home gets cleaned, inside out!
    Re crackers, my nine-year-old is obsessed with them, though we have prohibited noisy bombs, ladis etc. Since he’s only been bursting crackers for the past couple years, we’re indulging it as a passing fancy. I have a 13-year-old nephew who turns up his nose at crackers claiming (rightly) that they’re not eco-friendly and hence not cool 🙂
    But my toddler had a really hard time cringeing under the noises of the crackers. Felt bad for her today.


  8. Cute portraits. Not sure which one is you, though, IHM. 🙂

    As for Diwali, I guess I see it more as a victory of light over dark? I love lighting diyas! That and the sweets are my favourite part. Haven’t been a big fan of fireworks for a long time – the noise, the smoke, and the left-over mess, all kind of put me off. But I love seeing houses all lit up, and meeting relatives, and of course, eating! Though I’ve been far away from India for a long time and thus don’t get to see a lot of houses being decorated. But we light lots of diyas, so its all good.

    I don’t really see Diwali as much too religious, except for the 1 day of Laxmi Pooja. Other than that, I see it more as a celebration of the different relationships in your life – between partners, parents-children, brother-sister, etc.


  9. Happy Diwali to you and all your readers.
    It’s a quiet Diwali for me this year.
    No noise, no crackers, no oil lamps here in Fremont, California, where I am camping.
    A Hindu family lives opposite our house and they have strung up some electric lights for the occasion and we satisfy ourselves looking at them.
    We visited each others houses and exchanged Diwali greetings.
    I couldn’t even enjoy the sweets due to medical advice to avoid them.
    Crackers here are just out of the question.
    Even at Bangalore, it’s over 25 years since we spent any money on Crackers.
    New clothes, Yes. Sweets, Yes. Ritual oil baths, yes, Crackers no!
    I have experienced two fire accidents in our house caused by crackers during Diwali first, when I was just 6 years old and the second when I was thirteen.
    Since then we have eschewed crackers.
    My children too were not to keen on them. For a couple of years we did spend on sparklers and other harmless ones, but we always avoided the noisy ones and the dangerous ones.

    Either of the Rangolis could be you if I stretch my imagination far enough!


  10. I light candles. Which religion would that be considered as? 😀 Also beautiful, also light and less maintenance through the evening! It is meeting people, community get togethers, time off to sleep in and one thing that makes me feel Indian. There are no pujas in my home on all days even though we believe that there is a God. New clothes for the kids.

    Lost the battle of ‘no-crackers’ with the kids despite a lot of talking, explaining. We pooled crackers, next year, hopefully we’ll be out of this!

    The first one is more like you, the second is probably what you look like to the artist?


  11. First one.

    I think what my daughter said sums it up, “Diwali is my favourite festival because there are so many people getting together.” She said this in the building compound while everyone was lighting fireworks together. Teaches me a lesson…we did not light fireworks for the first 8 years of her life.

    Managed to convince the brats to light only a few ‘light’ type of sparklers and flowerpots. They had several interesting comments on the smoke, and the fact that our feline visitors have not been seen for a few days, and that’s why we opted out of noisy crackers. The son was the best passing loud comments about the danger of a 5 year old boy lighting the crackers himself. “It’s very bad manners and he’s going to get hurt. Why aren’t his parents protecting him?” 😀

    Religion involved in lighting a lamp. BS! It’s pure beauty and warmth. So symbolic and welcoming more than electric lights.


  12. Ok, let me guess. The 1st one by virtue of the beautiful girl/woman having slightly longer tresses than the second;) Second one is the little artist:)

    I agree with CR on nothing being religious unless we perceive it to be. Being an atheist amongst a large religious family doesn’t dampen my enthu of what goes into the festival- making sweets, visiting sis, having over extended family, sharing sweets with neighbors, shopping, a few of us at work pooling in money and sponsoring lunch at a home for children. The hubby and I don’t believe in blowing away money on crackers. The older kid says NO to crackers of any kind. Younger is showing interest in the noise-free ones.. So we stuck to a few sparklers and a box of flower-pots.


  13. I think you’re the first one.. but both are lovely so I’m sure you won’t mind if I’m wrong. 🙂

    As an atheist, I think we should reclaim whatever ritual/ tradition we like and just detach the religious connotations from it. Why deprive yourself if you like something for fun/ nostalgic/ whatever reasons? It’s only religious if you think it is. We happened to not do anything for diwali this year as we didn’t feel like it and were busy with work on the day. Last year we lit some candle diyas and went to a diwali dinner. I do like the lighting bit of diwali.. I don’t even know or care if it is religious, I just like it because the lights look beautiful and warm (it’s getting cold here!).

    So, in short, we do whatever we feel like without worrying about rules supposedly telling us to do it or not do it. 🙂


  14. I cannot identify which one is you but the artist is so cute!

    Most Indian traditions are interspersed with religion or spirituality and rituals. It is quite difficult to separate them out. So, just do whatever pleases you, don’t like it, don’t do it.

    I don’t do firecrackers and haven’t for years. My diwali constitutes – good food and Indian clothes if i feel like it. I am not into rituals unless I made them, so yeah whatever


  15. I’d say the 2 nd one.
    I love Diwali, we lean and go overboard with Rangoli, flowers and diyas. Making sweets s a pleasure. Or rather mami’s pleasure. I’m her helper and when the boys were home it was chaos and fun :-). My husband put up lanterns. Goes overboard with them. But we love it.
    No crackers , just buy sparklers to Give out to kids.
    W Los make sweets thali o hand out. Although hubby can’t understand why ipend the time and effort. I love it.
    Dress up, vist friend, temple. Just have a nice time.


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