I was reminded an hour ago, out of nowhere, just sitting on my office desk, of this: http://theunsweptcorner.blogspot.com/2006/08/retrospection.html
That was 10 years ago. I was 20, and apparently was already feeling old enough to deem it appropriate to look back on my younger self. I was ruminating wistfully over a kind of life I had already left behind, one of being crazily excited about festivals such as Janmasthami, about the little things that made it awesome and, to be sure, about my own intense participation in them. At some level, I was also thinking about my 8 year old self, how I looked, how small my hands were, how short I was and how I had look up into the sky to talk to my dad. At 20, though, I already looked largely as I do today, so that difference is perhaps not as outwardly stark when I sit down looking back now as I did then. But the nature of my Janmasthami has changed again.
At 20, Janmasthami was still being celebrated all around me. My parents observed all the little things. What I missed was my own former enthusiasm. Today, there is no Janmasthami around me, except in the abstract. The people I meet and see on a day to day basis have no clue that there is some such thing. I live in a world far removed from it. The enthusiasm for Janmasthami, though, is discernably more alive now, despite that. Despite that, or, because of that? I can't say for sure.
I will be leaving early from work today, because google helped me locate a temple where they're having Janmasthami celebrations. I admit it won't be a Janmasthami of great personal involvement that it was back when I was 8. In all likelihood, all I'll do is drive there, hang around for a little aimless while, and come back, hopefully with some delicious prasad. And that would be gold, too.