Spread the cheer

This Diwali, let smiles light up your home and let a less polluted environment thank you for your thoughtfulness. Shruti Shaw suggests a few ideas to celebrate the festival of lights responsibly

For years, my neighbour has been following a unique ritual to celebrate Diwali. She plants a couple of saplings in the community park just before the evening puja commences. And as she admires a sapling she had planted a few years ago, which has now grown into a tree, she says, “This is my way of compensating for the crackers people burst on Diwali.”

As the world becomes more sensitive towards responsible celebrations, my neighbour’s somewhat unique annual ritual becomes very relevant. But that’s not the only idea. As we get ready to celebrate Diwali, let’s look at several such options of spreading the cheer responsibly.

Going green

Backed by authorities, the number of people bursting crackers has significantly decreased in the last few years. As schools sensitise children about the environmental pollution caused by firecrackers, at home too, encourage them to stay away from crackers. As for the customary fireworks, buy brands that pollute the least. There are some cracker  brands that plant a tree for every box of crackers sold. And this is mentioned on the pack. You could look for them. If you are buying crackers in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Warangal or Bengaluru, you can order green crackers online at hitechcrackers.com. This website claims to plant a sapling for every order it receives, and also donates a part of the order amount towards charity. Choosing electrical fireworks is another smart idea, especially at community gatherings in residential complexes or clubs. If finding a place to plant a sapling on your own sounds like a challenge, do it online. There are several websites like grow-trees.com and sankalptaru.org, which will plant a tree on your behalf.

Socially responsible

Traditionally, Diwali celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Most of us celebrate Diwali with prayers to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity. This  year, pledge to donate a part of your wealth to those who are not so fortunate. Don’t just give away gifts you do not require. Buy new gifts and donate them. Prefer to do at least a part of your Diwali shopping from stalls set up by NG Os, which are working towards bettering lives in various parts of the country. Choose handcrafted decorations, even if they are slightly imperfect instead of polished imported ones. If you are too busy to make a physical donation, donate online. Most reputed NG Os accept online donations.

Sweet indulgence

It’s always a better idea to make sweets at home instead of buying them. But even while doing this, we can share. Most of us make sweets or savouries on Diwali for our families and friends. This year, plan ahead, contact a nearby orphanage or old age home and send over a part of your Diwali treats. If you have time, you can even plan to spend a day with them and share the meal.

So this Diwali, spread the word. Instead of spending hours bursting crackers or partying, spend some time with the underprivileged and let their smiles light up your home!

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