How I embraced a simpler, slower Diwali

By Natasha Ghai

Diwali—it’s one of the festivals we look forward to all year. When I think back to celebrating Diwali in India, I think about the lights, opulence and extravagance. I think about the brand new clothes, jewellery, house decorating marathons, decadent food, late night card parties and frantic shopping trips for the ‘best’ gifts for friends and family. There’s just something about the environment and people’s moods that changes during this festive period. Everything feels so happy and positive.

This year, I certainly had the same excitement as every year, but couldn’t help feeling tired at the same time. Just the thought of getting myself organised to have the ‘perfect’ Diwali celebration was getting me stressed. I think, over the years we’ve just become conditioned to believe that extravagant decorations and multiple parties are the only way to truly embrace Diwali. Somewhere down the line, the true significance and innocence of the festival has been lost in the commercial noise around us.

So this year, I did things a bit differently. I stripped right back to the basics. I decided I was not going to stress about attending every single party I’m invited to, or go crazy cleaning every inch of my house to perfection. I decided to slow down and be truly mindful of why we celebrate Diwali. After all, this grand festival seems to have so many positive interpretations according to various legends. Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lord Ganesha, a symbol of wisdom and auspiciousness is also worshipped on this day. And of course, there is also the celebration of the return of Lord Rama from exile after gaining victory over the demon king Ravana.

These are the things I want to teach my young daughter, and how she can gain strength and wisdom from these ancient legends. I want to teach her to bask in the light of a few beautiful diyas and spend quality time with family and close friends.

So even though I embraced a ‘simpler’ festival this year, one thing I did not compromise on is good food and sweets. In Melbourne, my go to place for sweets that remind me of my childhood is definitely Sweet India. I’m pretty sure that this is a familiar name for all the lovers of some good quality mithai. Originally starting out in the western suburbs of Melbourne, they have now expanded to multiple locations, with the most recent being in the suburb of Glen Huntly. Do check them out for some honest, good quality food.

I do encourage you to try out my simple Diwali version next year—you might just enjoy it!


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