Spreading the Light this Diwali

Old friends, new clothes, fireworks, diyas, boxes of sweets, family visits, pujas, card parties – some of us are blessed to be celebrating Diwali with all of these. But, can we spare a thought for those who aren’t?

Here are some ways to light up the lives of others this Diwali:

Charity begins at home:

Festivals mean extra work for your maid. Why not sweeten her bonus with a hamper for her children with a box of sweets and crackers, or even the cricket bat her son has been coveting?

While we take care of our household help, what about the street sweepers who have to clean up post Diwali. You could save a few goodies for them.

shutterstock_324912671Sweet suggestion:

Instead of rushing to your usual sweet shop, try to source your sweets/chocolates/dried fruits/decorated hampers from Self-Help Groups.

Alone on Diwali:

Spare a thought for those who might be spending Diwali alone. Your aunt whose children are abroad, your colleague who couldn’t get a ticket home…. Call them over to join the party at your home or Association. They will look forward to it all week.

Pizza party:

For the cost of a set of clothes you can have pizza or ice cream delivered to an orphanage or old age home in your neighborhood. Swing by to distribute the goodies yourself and feel the love. No time? You can organize it online.

shutterstock_220847179-convertedCracker of an idea:

When you go to the local fireworks shop, chances are you will find a bunch of eager-beaver urchins being shooed away. Buy a few boxes of flowerpots, sparklers, chakras and distribute it among them. The light on their faces will be brighter than anything you see in the sky.

Fund raise:

Raise funds for your local charity while you have fun. Here’s how:

Entrance fees:

Have a dress code (like ‘wear one sparkling item’). Those who come in costume pay half the entry fee. Those who don’t, pay double or have to buy a sparkling paper cap at the door.

Sell artworks or handicrafts

These could be painted diyas, wrapping paper or gift envelopes made by the kids in your apartment

Karaoke contest:

Charge each participant a small fee and let the audience vote who’s best.

Raffle hampers:

Ask guests/apartment members for contributions (home-made sweets, cakes, pickles, etc). Make them up into hampers and raffle them.

At the very least keep a labeled jar in a prominent place, into which your guests or other apartment members can slip in contributions.

Happy gifting this Diwali!

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Radhika Sunderaj
I like: the hush in a theatre before the curtain goes up; holing up on the top berth of a train with a good book; “thin” mirrors in fitting rooms; anything by PG Wodehouse; meandering paths on misty mountainsides; hot pakoras on a rainy day. Really hate: ‘running dreams’ where I’m hunted by a faceless enemy; people who borrow books and never return ‘em, smudging my nail polish and mosquitoes (but they love me). I spent 20 years as a Writer, Creative Director and Party Animal in Advertising. These days, when I’m not rereading Wodehouse, trying to lose those last 5 pounds or adding obscure destinations to my bucket list, I function as a book editor and freelance writer in Australia.