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There is celebration in the air when a festival like diwali approaches. Since childhood it was my favourite festival and I clearly remember the house cleaning activity started weeks before the festival. The house is not only cleaned but also decorated with new stuff. It was so much fun. For me it brought holidays from school, new clothes, lots of good food to relish and meeting my cousins and friends. I loved how we used to light diyas starting dhanteras, made rangoli, the puja preparations, shopping for new clothes etc etc.
Also diwali is not a one day festival. It starts at our home from dhanteras and ends at Bhai dooj. For years I had seen that during and post diwali there were extra sweets and dry fruit boxes which were not consumed even till end and though the dry fruit could be used later some sweets turned bad and were not usable and thus wasted. I was a kid and didn't do anything about it. But in last 5-6 years i have seen a new trend emerging in our family, friends and relatives. As soon as diwali time comes all people are busy buying a plethora of gifts. Here I am not talking about gifts within the family (like members in the same house, we gift need based things amongst us or something someone was wishing to buy for a long time ) it is what one family as a social formality or ritual gifts to the other family as a whole. Starting dhanters till diwali all relatives and friends come with a gift to wish us and we are also expected to visit them all with a gift. The gift is not eatables usually. I am not against gifting and believe that it is a way to show our love and care to each other,also it is a part of the festival celebration but in recent years I feel that it has become very unreasonable and more of a fad and matter of social and financial status show off, and sometimes it is really wasteful and competitive activity as whose gifting idea was best or who has spent more. I say this because of the following reasons:
I see so many needy people during diwali time especially small kids sometimes asking and sometimes just eyeing sweets and crackers in market area and also near our house. We are fortunate enough to have all this and we must share it with people not so fortunate. Thus, why can't we just stop such unreasonable and wasteful gifting practices and use that amount, time and effort to bring happiness and light of joy to someone else. Let them also celebrate this festival of lights. Charity begins at home so this year I have decided to distribute that pile of extra upholstery ,crockery items etc to people who need them more than us. I will apologize to all the people who bring a gift for our family and not accept it, will request them to give it to someone needy or i can do that for them. I will ask just for thier love, blessings and best wishes for our family. Also i will not spend money on this gifting and will donate that amount to an instution for needy people. I know it may hurt some peoples sentiment's and all will not like or understand my idea but for me this will be my real diwali celebration. Also when my daughter will see and understand my gesture she will also learn sharing and caring for others.
A very happy diwali to all of you.