Actors from B-town share their favourite Diwali memories with us:
Aditi Rao Hydari
“I don’t burn firecrackers. At the age of 10, I stopped doing that. I start my celebrations by making sure my house is neat and clean. I make sure everything looks pretty and sparkly. Then I light a lot of diyas and make the rangoli myself. I love flowers, so I use them to decorate the house. Diwali is a time for well-being and happiness. When we were growing up in Delhi, two of my best friends and I pooled together all our firecrackers and burst them on the terrace. We had a great time. And because we weren’t allowed to watch movies otherwise, at night we would invariably sit and watch Mr India (1987). That was also the only time we were allowed to stay up late.”
“My favourite Diwali memory is of the whole family coming together for that one night and bonding over random conversations and delicious food. My grandmother made outstanding food during Diwali, so that’s a memory that always lingers. As a kid, I used to burst crackers. I have stopped now because of the pollution they cause. Recently, I even tried my hand at playing cards, but I tend to lose more than I win, so I stay away. The puja at home is another highlight. Earlier, my grandfather used to do it, then I saw my father doing it and last year, I did it.”
"I lived in Delhi as a child, where Diwali would be celebrated in true Dilli style with an opulent farmhouse party and elaborate firework display, food, dance and merriment till the early hours of the morning. Often, trips to the hospital were included as someone inevitably burnt a hand or a foot while setting off a rocket or a bomb. In recent years, Diwali has taken on a less risky and more environment-friendly flavour at home — we light diyas inside and outside the house, do puja and eat sweets. No risk to life or limb or nothing an antacid can’t take care of!"
"As a kid, I would wait to see what our family budget for crackers was, and compare that with friends. I would then get ready to burst crackers with them in the evening. With age, however, I realised that crackers are not just a waste of money, but the pollution they cause, of both sound and air, is disturbing. So now, Diwali is about lighting a few diyas and having a small puja at home."
“Diwali for me means taking time off work to meet family and friends. We do a small puja at home every year. I don’t gamble, so I get quite bored at Diwali parties. Instead, I play Uno with the kids at home. The pollution that crackers cause bothers me, so I don’t endorse them. However, what I love about the festival is the general cheer all around, decorated homes and people in a celebratory, chilled-out mode, smiling and having a good time. The highlight of the whole shebang is — but, of course — the mithais!”
Sarah Jane Dias
“My earliest memories of Diwali are of lighting phooljhadis in the building compound. Now, if I happen to fly out of Mumbai on Diwali eve, there’s nothing like watching fireworks when you are in the sky. Diwali celebrations for me involve parties, great food and yummy sweets, and I also play the occasional card game. I love the festival and watching my city light up.”