“Oh, quickly get ready. We have to go to the Sharma’s, Mehta’s and Sodhi’s. Diwali ke gift batane hai, phir kal south delhi walon ko cover karenge”
Yes, the festival month is just round the corner with its mix of joyfulness and festress – Wait a minute – Did I just say FESTRESS!
Welcome to North India to take a glimpse of how stressed we get with the onset of the festival season. To the world (most of the times – we disguise ourselves too!) we are an epitome of rituals and culture and that we pass down the legacy of keeping up with the traditions from generation to generation with great ease but are we really at that ease?
So what is this festival stress? (Sounds more serious to be considered – doesn’t it?)
This particular kind of stress category is a limited but recurring edition in any Indian upper middle class family. It usually sets in the last quarter of every year (We never get to know when is it going to hit us the following year as the next dates are subject to change to our tricky vedic calculations) and lasts for about a month, while our moods and the bank accounts take about 2-3 months to recuperate. Also, it happens across age groups and there are no set conditions or hereditary diagnosis. To each – it gives a different state of a stressed mind!
Categories of the festival Stress (In ascending order of Highest Risk of Recurrence):
- Gifts..gifts..everywhere – but which one to give this year? Should you happen to visit any Indian house hold in North India, you cannot miss a stack of big and small cartons / boxes wrapped in shiny (read LOUD!) gift papers – one on top of the other pushed next to the living room wall. In some houses, you may even see a temporary cleared off space in a room to park these boxes. Interestingly, most of these boxes (especially at the top) are the ones which were received as ‘Gifts’ in the previous years and are now on target to be ‘Gifted Out’ this year – (Does it remind you of a stock clearance sale? Indeed!) Also, these boxes are stacked according to the value of the item vs. the value of the gift received from a friend / relative. A 1,000 Rs. silver bowl set has to be exchanged against a 1,200 Rs. Bombay Dyeing Bedspread. A pack of nuts only deserve a Cadbury Celebration Box, in lieu. Ofcourse, as the status category goes up so does the line of the gifting range from exotic tea sets to antiques to silverware to an Audi (well, we never know – stress makes you do crazy things when it gets to you). There is an undeclared war of who gives a better gift and mind you – sometimes the stress levels are so high that you may just end up returning the same gift to someone who gifted it to you – the last year. Phew!
- My house is for me – Oh Really! It is not uncommon in north India to actually get the house labourers / domestic helps / painters out of stock due to a sudden high demand just a couple of months before the festival month. Even the tiniest of the leaking corner which kept crying for the house owner’s attention throughout the year suddenly feels so – Specially Treated. The walls get that much deserved face lift while the leathery sofa is botoxed for a younger look! The photo frames are updated with latest family selfies while the showcase are loaded with the newest of showpieces (God Bless the Khan Market!). All this for self – Nah, we were too stressed to get all that done to enjoy them! obviously for others who come ‘to gift’ us to look at every hook and corner and get the stress to go back and touch up their own houses. haven’t you heard of – passing on the stress?
The walls get that much deserved face lift while the leathery sofa is botoxed for a younger look! The photo frames are updated with latest family selfies and the showcase are loaded with the newest of showpieces (God Bless the Khan Market!).
- The Clothing Controversy: Now this stress symptom is predominant in women. Lets take an oath today – Place Your Palm on your heart and say – If I buy that latest Ritu Kumar Angarakha this Diwali then I will wear it the next year too.What? Are you kidding me? What will Mrs. Dhillon and Mrs. Gulati think? Am I out of my mind or out of money? and then they will ‘broadcast’ it all over the whatsapp group. No no..I’d rather take the stress of buying a different stress every year!
- The Traffic Tragedy: if you plan to visit north India during the festivity and on top of it decide to go around the cities then please don’t – you are in for a traffic tragedy. Just about a fortnight before and after the festival month, the whole of north India subjects itself to the traffic tragedy. The GPS’ also ask for forgiveness for not leading you into the right direction as it fails to see beyond the bumper to bumper touching cars, jammed roads and blocked sub-lanes all through the day (yes, our roads get into the seven-eleven mode during festivals) . We as a family stress out together over the dinner as to which area to cover the next day. Even the soldiers on the war front struggle to match up to our caliber of chalking out a route map with the hiding shortcuts and by-lanes to get to the target houses in one go during this time. Whoever said – sometimes, Stress can bring your suppressed quality out was so right!
Besides the above, the festival stress also comes in small bouts of what type of cuisine to serve this year, how much bonus to be paid to the staff (What’s that?), how many parties to throw vs. how many to attend, how many wishes on whatspp vs. personal calls (does that still exists?) etc..etc..etc..
While the studies show no possible solution to this stress, every now and then some affected cases have gotten rid of this type with a bit of introspection and redirection to a simpler, happier and a lesser competitive life.
On hopes we all live and with that hope, I am hopeful of more cases of festival stress getting better soon!
Well, Yoga keeps me from becoming Festressed! 😛
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