i've had a couple of really busy days, hence the absence of posts. monday evening, i managed a visit to a sick relative in hospital as well as two other meetings (not to mention the usual cooking and chauffering of children to regular classes). last night i had to fit in a teleconference while i was at an event, which meant that i blew $20 just to take part in the call by mobile. grrr. the things we do.
but it was the event itself that i'd like to dwell on a little further. regular readers of this blog (yeah, all two of you!) may recall that i wrote earlier in the year about my encounters with religious hatred, and some thoughts i had after my visit to mr s in auckland about setting up an indian interfaith group. i can't say that i personally made any progress on this, other than mentioning my thoughts to a few people here and there.
but last night i attended an event that gave me a lot of hope and positive feeling. it was a joint eid and diwali celebration* organised by an organisation called the koshish trust. it was attended by indians and pakistanis, and there was a good mix of sikh, hindus and muslims. there may have been christians there, but i didn't recognise them. a joint celebration of religious festivals, particularly here in nz, was a wonderful thing to be part of.
a really touching moment for me was when the programme stopped for the sunset prayer at around 7.30, and all the muslims got up to pray in congregation in one corner of the hall. everyone else just amused themselves for ten minutes and then we all got on with the programme (which was a mix of bollywood dancing, ghazals, poetry recitals etc). this isn't something i've seen happen in other parts of the country, so was quite proud of my hamilton community. the level of goodwill in the room was pretty high, helped by the fact that we mostly knew each other, and cared about each other enough to make a strong statement against divisivenss and hatred.
i didn't have any hand in the event other than attending and being a part of it. and i'm really glad i did so. we had some visitors from auckland at the event, so i'm hoping that there might be something similar happening there in the not too distant future.
*hence, if you hadn't worked it out already, the title of this post. it's the name the organisers chose for the event.