Spice of Life: This Diwali, gift the light of knowledge - Hindustan Times
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Spice of Life: This Diwali, gift the light of knowledge

BySonika Sethi
Nov 10, 2023 08:54 AM IST

‘Bookawali’ -- the concept is to gift a book to your friends and family. Not everyone will appreciate or reciprocate this but sharing books is sharing the joy of reading which not only enhances someone’s literary horizons but also fosters a love for learning, writes Sonika Sethi.

An interesting word caught my attention while skimming through the social media- Bookawali- a compound noun coined by combining two nouns- Book and Deepawali. The concept is to gift a book this Diwali to your friends and family. To be honest, I am quite fascinated by the ingenious and creative idea.

Sharing books is sharing the joy of reading which not only enhances someone’s literary horizons but also fosters a love for learning, writes Sonika Sethi. (Shutterstock)
Sharing books is sharing the joy of reading which not only enhances someone’s literary horizons but also fosters a love for learning, writes Sonika Sethi. (Shutterstock)

Diwali is just around the corner and the meme has already started doing the rounds on social media, ‘It’s soan papdi time!’

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Soan papdi, a dish once relished and cherished by one and all, has over the years earned discredit for being passed around artlessly during Diwali. Also, those of us who still adhere to the ‘gift culture’ either to appease their lords and bosses or to show generosity towards their subordinates, are busy rummaging for last year’s skillfully stocked re-usable or re-passable gifts.

Bone China cups and saucers, tea sets, borosilicate glassware, dry fruit trays, candy sets, flower vases and such items, when received, are cautiously unwrapped, checked and relegated to either of the three categories- to be used, to be passed on and to be stored for future gifting. Of all these, soan papdi boxes are instantly consigned to the ‘to be passed on’ classification without batting an eyelid.

Long ago, when we were kids, neighbours exchanged mithai with each other. Our mothers would fill a plate with assorted sweets, cover it diligently with a dainty hand-embroidered napkin and send us as bearers of the Diwali wishes. Some would immediately transfer the contents to their own plates and return ours while others would retain the plate only to return later, laden with sweets and wishes. And then came the era of exchanging boxes of sweets which was closely followed by the exchange of gifts and, of course, boxes of soan papdi!

The gift boxes, though appear convenient and hygienic, lack the personal warmth of yesteryears. For many years now, we have been gifting fruit baskets on Diwali to friends and family which is a tedious task -- selecting the fruit, getting it wrapped and carrying those heavy baskets; yet it adds a personal touch to the process.

However, this Diwali I am sure that I’ve hit upon the ultimate gifting idea. I shall personally wrap selected books for my near and dear ones, while considering their taste and style - poetry for the sensitive souls, classics for the literature lovers, motivational and self-help books for the punctilious, short stories’ collections for the busy bees, illustrative books for the young ones or those still young at heart and romances for the ones belonging to my ilk.

Not everyone, I believe, will appreciate or reciprocate my perception of celebrating ‘Bookawali’ still I would like to illuminate this Diwali with the light of knowledge. Sharing books is sharing the joy of reading which not only enhances someone’s literary horizons but also fosters a love for learning.

So, this festival season, spread the light of knowledge and wisdom by gifting books and kindling the spirit of curiosity and exploration. Let us share books- the timeless treasures of adventure and inspiration, making them thoughtful and meaningful gifts.

The writer is an associate professor at SD College, Ambala Cantt

sonrok15@gmail.com

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