It is that time of the year again when the fairylights are twinkling just a little bit brighter; there is a slight nip in the air and there is much festivity and excitement buzzing all around. Yes, Diwali is here and the season of gifting and shopping heralds upon us with much flutter and fanfare.
I am sure that like me, you too have typical Diwali rituals, which besides the annual house painting and cleaning also entail creating the rangoli and putting up the genda and paanpattaladis at the home’s entrance, making sure the silver is polished, new clothes and gifts right from the domestic staff to family, friends, and so on. Exhausting activities no doubt but extremely delightful and fulfilling at the same time.
In my opinion, the best expression of love is perhaps most aptly conveyed through sending a lovely gift for that special relative, friend, loved one or anyone close to the heart and Diwali is the occasion when most of us take the onus of doing so. In that little packet, wrapped carefully under glittering paper and satin ribbons, lies a token of caring and sharing with those who matter in our lives.
Browsing through a book of poetry the other day, I stumbled upon a delightful and oft-forgotten term, PHOSPHORESCENCE. And I decided that this Diwali, why not discover that phosphorescence, that light within, and make a difference through this very gesture of gifting…
Diwali is actually the perfect time to spare a thought for those who are not so blessed and need just that little bit of a nudge or a prod or a pat on the shoulder from us to ease their burdens. Not everyone is privileged with the luxury of a clean hearth and home to celebrate Diwali with their kith and kin and as blessed and aware human beings with ample resources at our disposal, it is a great idea to give back to society. There are thousands of homeless men, women and children in the city in need of hygienic food and clothing and of course it is humanly impossible to reach out to all of them. But a small gesture of reaching out to say ten, twenty or even fifty at an Old Age Home or orphanage or just the homeless on the streets can be tried out.
My organization, Godfrey Phillips, has this amazing initiative as an articulation of this thought. Amodini, meaning happiness,is a women’s empowerment program that aims to train and empower women in rural India to be financially independent and to build happy homes.And as part of our corporate gifting,we use hand made products created by various organization associated with us. This is now a tradition , 8 years running. For this year’s Diwali, we are distributing products created by the Help Foundation, a J&K based NGO, working with women in the turbulent and terror-afflicted state of Jammu and Kashmir and focusing on revival of traditional craft and embroidery techniques.
As the inimitable William Shakespeare has stated, “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” Baby steps no doubt but am sure that even if a few individuals experience some joy or amodini in their darkness through these, it is worth every bit of the effort. This Diwali, let us all spread some cheers and smiles amongst the lesser privileged even if it means foregoing a bit of our own revelry and celebrations cos trust me, that smile you will see on their faces will be your best gift to yourself this year. Here’s to a cracker of a Diwali!