For Diwali, we do a small Laxmi Puja with the family. We have a family dinner and then meet our friends. This is a regular custom. We attend card parties but Karan and I do not gamble.
After the puja, we eat mostly Bengali food cooked by mom or order Bengali food from an amazing restaurant. We don’t light any firecrackers at all. Most of our distant family is in Kolkata, so we don’t have any family closer home as such. But we have friends who are like family here.
Archana Puran Singh
In childhood, Diwali was celebrated with traditional food; puri aloo, chhole, halwa, mithai, and kheer batasa. The toys made out of sugar were keenly fought over by my three siblings and me. I would climb the boundary wall of our bungalow in Dehradun to put diyas and candles all around the house.
The house would be filled with happy laughter, great food, crackers like phooljhadis, anaar and chakri (that time pollution was not the threat to civilisation as it is today!) I feel Hindu festivals have a science behind them and that good energies do manifest as a victory of good over bad during this period.
When I shifted to Mumbai my Diwali became less celebratory. I was a paying guest for many years. But now that I have two kids we have started celebrating in a grand way again. Cousins, uncles and aunts come over home for our famed Diwali dinner.
It is always only family. No friends for these annual Diwali dinners. The food and drinks last till late night. Of course, the evening starts with a puja. Of late, after the puja the boys have their own group who they go out with.
This year (like many previous years) we will be at Mr. Amitabh Bachchan's Diwali party. His parties are the grandest Diwali celebrations of all. It's like being at home even while being at a party. The atmosphere is so warm and welcoming.
We celebrate Diwali in a simple way, theek thaak khaana ban jaata hai, we light diyas, relish mithai and some close friends drop over to wish us. I have very strong sentiments attached to Diwali. In the village I lived in, Diwali was a huge festival.
There was no electricity but on Diwali day there would be mud diyas and candles lit outside people’s houses and the whole village would be lit up—it was truly a festival of lights.
Diwali has always been the day when everyone in the family comes together. The efforts that everyone puts in to give each other special gifts, the festivities, sweets, blessings – it’s as if time has stopped and you have gone back to a tradition that you have been following since childhood.
We try and meet up at my parents' house and follow the rituals. Occasionally I attend card parties hosted by my close friends. I like giving thoughtful gifts in keeping with the festive theme of the season. We eat traditional sweets like jalebi, puranpoli, gujiya, biriyani all served on a banana leaf.
I miss my mother and father on this day. On the day of Diwali we read baani of Guru Granth Sahib and make kadha prasad. The house is lit up with diyas. The air has a special khushboo and we pray for the entire world.
On this day we also celebrate the sixth guru Sri Hargobind Sahibji, who was released and facilitated the release of 52 Hindu pahadi kings from Jehangir’s captivity at the Gwalior Fort.
Apart from decorating the house which is my wife Taran’s department, I focus on what’s being made for meals... lots of biryanis and meat preparations
This is not a one-day celebration, it continues for a week. I associate Diwali with comedy plays, music, celebrations, lights, fragrances, rose petals, mogra and amazing biryani. I distribute plants and kitchenware to friends. I strongly oppose crackers.
My most memorable Diwalis have always been with my family—my mom and my dad and my younger brother Yashraj. I still remember making rangoli, lighting the house with diyas and candles. In the fifth standard, I burnt my hand when lighting a rocket so I avoid crackers.
This Diwali, I will be going to my hometown in Uttarakhand and enjoying a peaceful time as the air is so pure and clean. It is lovely to chill in the mountains.
I am very excited that my film ‘Housefull 4’ is releasing this Diwali. I am sure I will be watching the film at least 10 times with my family and friends. Of course the tradition of me making rangoli and chakklis with Mom will always remain.