With the holiday season here, I’m already planning my outfits, the festivities, and all of the celebrations. You may say that I’m eager, but I have special anticipation rising in my gut because to me, the end of year is best spent with family and I want to fill those days with the love and warmth of togetherness which I believe we all should.

Even though we are not a Christian family, we still maintain the tradition of celebrating Christmas as part of our western influences. From as early as I can remember, my family have always plunged into the depths of their creative minds (and pockets) to make the last week of the year fun-filled with bright and beautiful decorations, and an abundance of delicious food!

And yet, the parts of our culture that seem to wholly reject the ‘Western’ are complexly in conflict with them: as some members of my family drink alcohol, and are able to drink it freely without being vilified, as say, the women are. And as we stop commenting on each other’s weight, stop grinding each other up in subtle jokes, and stop criticising each other with our eternally unsatisfied eyes. When we come together, we shut ourselves up from any kind of misgivings or differences we may have, cover up our mental illnesses, and simply embrace each other. Presumably, the parents who have worked themselves to the bone in order to buy presents to satisfy their children’s demands can let loose, and we can all engage in the fun and games that both lighten our hearts and remind us of why it is important to be together.

The only discrepancy between this ideal and the reality, is that there seems to be no warmth or spiritual value left. What happened here? It seems that the Desi diaspora has truly been cut off from its truth, our sense of community and communication shattering through each generation. We are no longer involved with each other, but are simply impressions of our best selves put on display for a few days. So when I sit down at the dinner table with a Christmas cracker in my hand, I’m not reminiscing about the pretty lights and winter snowfalls from a decade ago, no. I’m looking over at my uncle or aunt who are probably indulging in every excuse for escapism from life and expectation. As we take our celebrations much further into the night with rubbish TV, cheese platters and liqueurs strewn across the tables, my grandparents will be silently hoping that we won’t end up disgracing them with our future choices, that we will be successful and prosperous and not make the same mistakes as they and their children did.

So, if there is anything that these days of rest and fest suggest, it’s that whilst we enjoy ourselves, we cannot be enjoying ourselves in each other’s company forever. Such are the woes of a broken community trying to navigate within the capitalist western-centric society of today.

Priya Gill

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