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Diwali, the festival of lights: Celebrating the diplomatic way

The high commissioner of Canada and ambassadors of Mexico and Lithuania share with us their favourite Diwali moments.

more lifestyle Updated: Oct 17, 2017 20:13 IST
Nikita Saxena
Ambassadors from Mexico, Lithuania, and the high commissioner from Canada share with us their Diwali memories.
Ambassadors from Mexico, Lithuania, and the high commissioner from Canada share with us their Diwali memories.(Raajessh Kashyap)


From biting into their favourite sweets to adding warmth to their homes with lights — the high commissioner of Canada and ambassadors of Mexico and Lithuania share with us their favourite Diwali moments.

DIWALI, THE INDO-CANADIAN WAY

Canadian ambassador Nadir Patel with wife Jennifer Graham and daughter Nylah Patel-Graham. (Raajessh Kashyap/HT Photo)

The Canadian high commissioner to India, Nadir Patel and his wife Jennifer Graham will be celebrating their third Diwali in India. For them, the festival became more special after their daughter, Nylah’s birth. “Our daughter was born here in Delhi, so I’d say she is a pure Dilliwallah. Her first Diwali stands out in our minds,” says Nadir. “She was about four months old (she is two, now), and we were at a close friend’s home for the Diwali party. She was desperately trying to sleep amid all the noise,” he recalls.

It’s a time to say thank you. We’re here as diplomats but we’ve met a lot of wonderful people in India. Diwali lets us celebrate these bonds - Nadir Patel

For the family, celebrations are about gratitude. “It’s a time to say thank you. We’re here as diplomats but we’ve met a lot of wonderful people in India. Diwali lets us celebrate these bonds,” says Nadir. “We don’t burst firecrackers, one can celebrate without them,” he adds. Traditional Indian clothes, too hold favour with the trio. “We like to wear Indian clothes at any opportunity that we get. Diwali gives us a chance to wear colourful clothes for parties or while celebrating in office, and we love that!”

MEXICAN AMBASSADOR AND HER SWEET DIWALI

Mexican ambassador Melba Pria. (Raajessh Kashyap/HT Photo)

Lights, getting together with friends, and floral rangolis are things that Mexican ambassador to India, Melba Pria enjoys about Diwali. “I just love the lights. It is beautiful to see how the lights of the small lamps conquer the darkness – be it the darkness of evil conquered by the light of good, or that of ignorance or despair which is overcome by knowledge and hope,” she says. And, she also looks forward to the sweets that are a part of the festivities.

I do not usually eat sweets, but throughout the year, I wait for Diwali so I can have the traditional Indian sweets with pistachio and a silver foil on it - Melba Pria

“I do not usually eat sweets, but throughout the year, I wait for Diwali so I can have the traditional Indian sweets with pistachio and a silver foil on it. The first time I ate it, I was so amazed to eat silver foil on a sweet. Mexico is the first producer of silver in the world and silver is important in my country. To see it used in this unique form was astonishing for me,” explains Melba. “I light up my home with candles. It is a day to decorate the house with floral rangoli, dress in traditional clothes and relax with lots of music, dance, fun and laughter,” she says.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME, FOR THE LITHUANIAN AMBASSADOR

Lithuanian ambassador Laimonas Talat-Kelpsa. (Raajessh Kashyap/HT Photo)

For Lithuanian ambassador to India, Laimonas Talat-Kelpsa, Diwali feels a lot like Christmas. “In a way, Diwali reminds me of Christmas celebrations. Like Christmas, everyone spends the day with their family members and the scale is the same too. It is exciting to see people so happy,” he says.

Diwali is the start of celebrations for us. The decorations and lights are not moved till Christmas. It’s only a couple of months but it gives us a very special feeling. - Laimonas Talat-Kelpsa

The ambassador has celebrated four Diwalis in India till now, and still gets excited about the festival. “Diwali is the start of celebrations for us. The decorations and lights are not moved till Christmas. It’s only a couple of months but it gives us a very special feeling. It makes us feel like we’re home and everyone remains happy,” he shares. “The tradition of having lights is very close to my culture. The region where we come from, the day starts ending very quickly this time of the year. So, the candle lighting is very natural to our families. Doing the same thing here gives us a homely feeling and warms up our heart,” he adds.