How about ‘dil se’ Diwali, this time?
A large proportion of people love the festivities and want to dissociate Diwali with the tamasha it has become, but get sucked into it nonetheless. Today’s column is to give power and voice to such people. And, of course, some food for thought.more lifestyle Updated: Oct 23, 2016 10:35 IST
Diwali is the biggest, and perhaps the only festival in the world, jise log manaate kam hain, ghumaate zada hain. Aur saath mein khud bhi ghoomte hain. From one home to another, distributing/recycling gifts, attending card parties, fulfilling obligations. By the time they come around to crashing down, relaxing at home and take off the fancy shoes, someone rings the bell because, you know, their obligation chakkar wasn’t simultaneous to yours. There’s also, however, a large proportion of those who love festivities and want to dissociate Diwali with the tamasha it has become, but get sucked into it nonetheless. Today’s column is to give power and voice to such people. And of course some food for thought.
1. How about taking a stand of not buying any expensive, and mostly useless, gifts? Everyone likes to choose their own crockery, cutlery, photo frames, lamps etc at their home. Your choice not matching with theirs would only mean an additional burden on them to either pass on your set of six coffee mugs to someone who already has six such sets of six coffee mugs, or push the set further into the dark deep pit of their bursting ‘bed-box’. There are so many lovely organizations supporting kids who make small diyas, cards and candles around Diwali in the hope that someone buying them would give these differently-abled kids, a glimpse of self worth and pride. Buy these hand-made gifts, you’ll guarantee a smile on the face of both the seller, and the receiver of your gift.
2. How about keeping a check on the urge to compete with your neighbour on the lousy, loud crackers? Not asking you to completely stay away – I know you love bursting some and so does your kiddo. But mindless show-off of 50,000 ki ladi is just that – mindless. And then it increases smoke. Who knows it may just provoke Kejriwal to come up with yet another mindless round of odd-even. Galti kisi ki, sazaa kisi ko. And anyway, these crackers are mostly Chinese, so if my point doesn’t appeal to your common sense, let me tug on the patriotic one. There are a few safe, not loud, old desi patakhas in the market. The clue is that they still carry Dharmendra, Jeetendra and Jaya Prada on their cover (why, why why??). Bring those. No idea if they’ll work or not, but this way you can introduce your kid to our desi, dhamaakedaar stars. Better than them wondering about the unknown Chinese kanya, no?
3. Khabardaar if you spend obscene amounts to get those fancy dinosaur-sized gift packs of firangi food items which we have no clue how to eat. I’d rather you take a few much-loved desi chocolates and treats to the kids who are clustered around traffic signal, trying to get their hands on an unburnt cracker. If you have a party at home and there’s likelihood of unused food going waste, there are plenty of NGOs you can call who’ll happily come over and take it... to give it with love and dignity to those who also know it’s Diwali, but somehow seems like any other day to them.
4. Most of the aged – parents, relatives – who have seen enough shor sharaaba of Diwali all their lives really look forward to the festival as an occasion where their kids and grandkids would visit and spend time with them. That’s more precious than sending any fancy gift their way. Do give them that gift of time and laughter. Just one request, keep away your cell phone while you spend that hour with them. Us pe toh vaise bhi forwarded copy-paste messages hi aa rahe hoge, no?
5. There is a category of those for whom this festival gets goosebumps, and not in a happy way. Yeah, am talking about animals. Pets, strays, all of them. Dar lagta hai unko loud awaaz se. How difficult is that to understand? You may be one of those fighting against strays or for them… just for this day, bury the differences and allocate a safe corner in your society or colony for strays to huddle on this day. Tell the kids to not burn crackers near that area. In fact, if the resident welfare society in your area is strong enough, it would be great for them to allocate designated cracker-burning area, designated area for stray animals and designated area for those residents to party and mingle who can not stand smoke and loud noises due to health problems. All these should be suitably far away from each other. Sabki Diwali, unki marzi ki Diwali ho…shouldn’t it?
6. Finally, my most important tip for a ‘dil se’ Diwali this year. Spare time, love and respect for those who will be out on streets during the festivities, doing their duty. The policemen and women, the firemen and women – it’s a bloody stressful time for them. Brew a pot of your lovely tea, take out those fancy mugs and venture out to treat them while they stand on the road side inhaling all the smoke as a part of duty. Just a cup of tea, a smile, and a ‘Thank you boss, Happy Diwali’ will make their day. Yours too.
Sonal Kalra is getting increasingly sentimental. Actually not senti, just mental. Send her a hug with an expensive Diwali gift, and tell her that her world will be fine. Mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/sonal.kalra. Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra.