Photos: Mehang Desai (fotowale.in)
While Diwali is somewhat euphoric, the term means very different to different people. While we buy sweets, put on some weight, burst crackers ignorantly, wear expensive new clothes, buy hi-tech electronics, the poor have a very very different festival.
1. We light up our homes, do extravagant rangolis and set up numerous diyas. They, light up a small diya.
These people who live in the streets are often rendered homeless due to unemployment. They migrate to bigger cities in search of jobs but meet the same fate here. For some, Diwali is not any different than any other day of the year. For a select few, Diwali is marked by hanging a small lantern or lighting a small diya. How can one afford the decorations if they cannot afford basic necessities?
2. We prepare lavish, delicious meals and indulge in many different delicacies, they might just have an extra portion of rice.
Remember that food you threw away last Diwali because it was too much? They cannot even afford 2 meals a day. Our multi-course meal and their one roti a day has no balance. Their Diwali, is in hope for a donation of food from some do-gooders and enjoying that meal like it was the most delicious one they have ever had.
3. We buy new, expensive clothes for Diwali and they sew up some old donated rags and wear it to mark the occasions.
No one living on the streets ever buys clothes. People like us donate our old clothes to them and they wear it for years till they are in tatters. For Diwali, they might save up our ‘old and unwanted’ clothes as ‘their precious new ones for Diwali’. We don’t think twice before spending thousands behind brands, they only dream of it, even in Diwali.
This Diwali, try lighting up their life a bit too. Like it is said, a candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle.