KUALA LUMPUR: Hindus throughout the country observed Deepavali on a moderate scale with no major open houses, while for some in Selangor, the revelry was affected by water cuts.
The celebrations were markedly subdued out of respect for the six patients, including Hindu victims, who perished in Tuesday’s fire at the Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Baru, and their families.
In Johor, businessman T. Prapoo, 32, and his family observed a moment of silence and recited a prayer for those affected by the blaze.
“Our family will usually pray to our ancestors on Deepavali eve and take an oil bath the next morning before going to the temple to seek blessings but this year, we only had a quiet lunch at home.
“We prayed for those who died in the incident although we do not know them personally,” he said yesterday.
Johor Unity and Human Resources Committee chairman R. Vidyanathan urged Johoreans on Friday to observe Deepavali on a small scale following the tragedy.
For residents in the Petaling, Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat and Sepang districts in Selangor, their celebrations were somewhat dampened by a temporary shutdown of the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant.
At press time, water supply had resumed in some areas but residents remained careful.
S. Selvi, 50, who lives in Putra Permai, Seri Kembangan, said she cooked a lot less than she usually did for Deepavali because “we don’t know if the water will be cut again”.
Bandar Puteri Puchong resident Lat Mayar, 52, postponed their celebration as the districts had gone through four water cuts in two months.
“I’ll be visiting homes instead of having an open house,” she said, adding that the biggest problem for her family was having to drive to Petaling Jaya at 7.30am yesterday to take a shower.
“We woke up early to do the traditional oil bath and then went to a relative’s place to bathe,” she said.
In Bandar Bukit Puchong, P. Komalam, 67, went ahead with her open house, serving food on brown wax paper and drinks in paper cups.
“We had water a few days ago and I have stored enough, but we still limit our use,” she said.
In Kuala Lumpur, the lack of Deepavali festivities in Batu Caves, where MIC was scheduled to have its open house before it was cancelled three days before the event, did not deter thousands of Hindus from thronging the temple there to offer their prayers.
For four-year-old Charan Gunawardena, climbing the 272 steps of the temple for the first time was a memorable experience.
The shy boy said he was tired but would do it again.
His grandfather Dr K. Subramaniam, 65, said: “I came here from Ipoh so that I could celebrate Deepavali with my daughter, who lives in Bangsar.”
The Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has also postponed its open house as a mark of respect to the hospital fire victims.