the skinflint philosopher

Thrifting our way (temporarily in Bulgaria) to a better life

It’s better to light a candle than curse at the darkness


The latest ponderings this week have led me to attempt a ‘light’ themed post this evening. A group of my facebook chums have been hitting me hard this week with fantastical illuminated pictures and selfies in the streets of Kolkata, as Diwali celebrations reach their peak. As a true ‘festival of light’, championing light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair, then while these alone are all logical events to get the party started, but for the diehard skinflintists (is that another invented suffix I’ve just created?) amongst us, then celebrating the goddess of prosperity Lakshmi must also make perfect sense. Look after the paise, and the rupees will look after themselves (to adapt a thrifty proverb) , though I admonish myself as this is far too flippant a comment for the millions who will see Diwali in under the strain of abject poverty.
Diwali falls at the same time as our Halloween, where ‘evil’ in the shape of a witch or a ghost might come a-knocking at the door, but they are easily pacified with a chocolate bar. That guy from The Exorcist would have had a much higher success rate if he’d crammed his pockets with mars bars and maltesers. This then is perhaps a festival of the dark,  the absence of light, where the only light we have is the faintly glowing pumpkin lantern to give of a flickering sense of warmth at the door, and the all pervading aroma of burnt pumpkin as the candle singes the lid. This at least subverts the normal evening ‘flickerings’ you get in every house across the nation, as the TV channels zombify us with their pulsating electromagnetic waves.
On our little rock, we have our own traditions, so it is ‘Hop tu Naa’ rather than Halloween, and you get sung a rousing chorus of ‘Jinny the Witch’ when you open the door instead of being threatened with a trick. Tiddler is not too sure of the motley crew of frankensteins and vampires that keep turning up on our doorstep, but is playing along and handing out the treats as long as she can hold on to Thrifter at the same time.  These poor kids deserve a calorific boost for sure, as while across the pond you are all busy carving the soft skinned flesh of a pumpkin ‘like a hot knife through butter’ these poor little critters have to stick to the custom here and try and carve a turnip lantern. I tried this one year, and I’m not joking, don’t even bother with a chisel but dive straight in with the pneumatic drill.
To finish then, my philosophy today then is taken from the greatest man of literature himself, the shining star that is Rabindranath Tagore. I can imagine him thinking of the clay Diwali bowl-shaped lamps when he penned the following lines, and please excuse my poor translation, but these beautiful lines hopefully still resonate deeply with you.
” Who will continue my work?”, cries the setting sun.
“I, my Lord” says the earthen lamp, “I will do the best that I can”
Now feel free to interpret that as you wish, but I like to take this is an early 20th century version of the modern meme ‘not all heroes wear capes’. In life we may be humble clay and earth lamps, but what we are willing to do and give can be not only of vital importance, but an honour.
Happy Diwali, Halloween and Hop tu Naa to you all.


Author: Theskinflintphilosopher

Call me thrifty, prudent, tight or even a miser, but squirreling money away is definitely my thing. The ins and outs of how saving money became a lifestyle, in order to work towards a specific lifestyle change. Follow me on that journey and learn to look at life in a different way.

2 thoughts on “It’s better to light a candle than curse at the darkness

  1. LOVED that, kidder. You will always make my little light burn anew.

    Liked by 1 person

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