Love thy neighbourTwenty-three old Aanchal Srivastav, who moved in to the city a month ago, lives all by herself. But not being with family for the festival hasn’t dampened her spirits. “Diwali is usually a big deal at home. Since this year I’m not with my family, I've decided to celebrate it with my neighbours,” she says. “The elderly couple who live next door have been really sweet; they are like my own family in the new city,” she says. To make her day special, Aanchal also plans to cook for the couple. Benevolence factorAnurag Kohli, 28, who recently returned to the city after a long sail on his merchant navy ship, will be spending his Diwali alone for the first time. “I was looking forward to spending time with my family. But due to an emergency, they had to rush to Delhi. So I have decided to celebrate it by visiting an old-age home. I will go there with sweets and crackers and spend Diwali night with them. I have always wanted to do something like this, so I’m happy that I am now getting an opportunity,” he says. Cards to break the iceTanvi Mehta is using the festival as a perfect excuse to bond with her colleagues at her new place of work. On Diwali, she will be inviting her teammates over for a customary card party. “For the longest time, I was disillusioned about not having any friends around to celebrate Diwali with. But then I realised that I need to make the effort to socialise. I associate Diwali with friends, crackers and sweets, and even if I am alone this year, I’ll make sure I get the party started,” she says.
Get into the spiritA recent survey carried out by Cadbury and Ipsos suggests that people are increasingly losing touch with their emotional side due to stress and over-dependence on technology. With this, things like festivities, celebration with family and friends are starting to mean less. City-based psychiatrist Sharita Shah believes that this is not a healthy development for a community as a whole. “Festivals like Diwali are particularly important in today’s day and age as they strengthen relationships. If each one of us makes an effort to wish and gift our friends, especially those that are new in our cities, offices or social circles, we can ensure that everyone feels truly connected, thereby reinstating a sense of belonging to a community.”