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My 5th Diwali - a time of contemplation and learning

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

5 years ago I learned to celebrate Diwali for the first time. I worked in an Indian company as change manager and had already spent a lot of energy all the months before to make individuals from different regions of the world (especially India) and different work contexts (IT infrastructure, ITSM, ERP, non-ERP, change and communication, etc.) feel welcome and find themselves in a healthy and good modus operandi. Around Diwali, an enormous exhaustion spread over all of us and many of my colleagues from India were homesick for their families, for the food, odours, rituals and the unique feeling that only those who grew up celebrating Diwali from an early age on, know. So some of them gathered in the evening to linger together in bittersweet memories and to share joy and connectedness.

At that time, India was still a very foreign world for me. I knew it mainly through marginal phenomena of my ethnology studies as well as the stories and research of my fellow students and research colleagues.

The uniquely interwoven tones, sounds, colours and fragrances reflect what the subcontinent of India has experienced over thousands of years. A wondrous amalgam of science, civilizational growth, closeness to nature, spirituality, greatness, destruction, tenderness, vulnerability and conscious social distinction. Over the years, I deepened myself in getting to know India and people from India better and understanding them better. I built close relationships that took me to completely new inner and outer worlds and brought me to the edge of my capabilities. And I grew beyond myself and into myself in many ways.

I learned more about Indian history, ancient and recent events that were directly related to the atrocities of colonialism and can be explained by them.

I watched documentaries about the partition of India in the context of its independence.

I read about the genocide caused by the deliberately intended hunger, through the back then colonial power, Great Britain, in the east of the vast country, which from a Eurocentric worldview was a marginal note to the Second World War.

I watched the film Mississippi Masala and immersed myself in reading about Indian administrators in African countries and the interconnectedness of India both as an object and as a subject and agent in the power game of colonialism and todays IT and business world.

I learned how collective traumas express themselves in culturally specific ways, individually within us as humans and yet universally and how trauma information in leadership and everyday togetherness can help us all.

I learned where a certain form of melancholy comes from in the eyes and hearts of us humans and how at the same time irrepressible joy for and in life finds its place.

I learned how violence breaks ground and why.

I learned that superficiality is not a privilege of the so-called Western world and also has its place in the subcontinent Bharat, famous for its transcendence and spirituality. I learned a lot about myself and the inner richness and diversity in which love and connectedness can express themselves.

Thanks to all the people who have brought me closer to India in its most diverse dimensions and Diwali as their most impressive form of expression.


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