Sunday, 22 June 2008

mothers and daughters

i learnt something new yesterday. i found out that in the sikh tradition, there is a night every year set aside for mothers and daughters to celebrate. last night i attended one such event, for the first time in my life. there was a shared meal, then some organised entertainment, and finally (though i couldn't stay on for it) a general party with lots of dancing.

i don't think there is any other country that mixes colours the way indians do (although africans sometimes come close). so these women were dressed in outfits that mixed apple green with red, deep purple with bright pink, orange with yellow. but the amazing thing is that it somehow all works, and once the sparkly bits are added, well they simply looked beautiful. it was amazing to look at them as a crowd and see this absolute sea of bright colours.

the evening seemed like a lot of fun. there was a skit involving a young women dressing up as a man and another young women acting as his bride. i couldn't understand much of what was said, but it was apparently quite funny. and a bit of traditional and bollywood dancing, necessary for all indian celebrations.

now i'm thinking this is a tradition that we should all adopt. it's one of the best things about diverse communities, this ability to share and learn, to adopt and adapt, to take and leave. i have to admit that there appeared to be no other non-sikh women there except myself, one of my daughters and a hindu friend. but we were definitely made to feel welcome, and they even let me have a small speaking slot on request.

which was why i was there in the first place. part of being on the campaign trail involves making an absolute dork of yourself in various ways. so i stood there in front of these women who had come to celebrate, and told them about how politics was an important part of lives; how their vote affected them in personal and every day matters; how there would be no-one else in the booth with them, and because it was their own decision, how important it was that they make an informed one.

i think a number of them didn't understand me, because i spoke mostly in english. another number seemed to be chatting amongst themselves, judging from the noise. all i can hope for is that there were some who listened and understood, and of that group, there were some who were persuaded to act.

who knows. there are many times when i ask myself why on earth i do this, when i could be sitting comfortably at home with my kids, being the good and devoted mother my parents (and possibly my children) have always wanted me to be. was that two hours and $20 well spent, or was it a complete waste of time?

i know that it wasn't a complete waste of time for me. i did learn something that i didn't know before, after all. i met people that i wouldn't otherwise have gotten to meet. my life is richer for my having being there, and maybe that really is enough.

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