Diwali Message from Uma Padmanabhan, TV anchor and artiste
Diwali for her is special because she is going to buy the first Sari for her daughter who has turned nineteen. She will also take some time off from her busy schedule to go night shopping with a couple of friends. She tells us that certain shops offer special discounts to people who shop between nine and eleven in the night.
( Now you know where to get a good deal AND perhaps bump into Uma!)
"Diwali during our times was very exciting. The anticipation would build up days in advance and the household would swing into action. Guests and visitors would throng the place, dressed in their best. Large amount of sweets and savouries would be prepared at home and distributed."
Now, she feels,the essence of Diwali is missing. For her, Diwali is not so much a religious festival as a social one. It is a time when families and friends get together, have fun, share memories and celebrate. But now thanks to Television, children spend more time in front of the TV frantically trying to catch up on their favourite programmes than spend it with the family and visitors.
According to Uma, Television schedules take precedence over everything. It has robbed this generation of special family times.
Now, from a famous TV personality, this is saying a lot!
Even her life has take on this hue. She is more concerned about what Saree she is going to wear for The Diwali special hosted by her than thinking about how she is going to celebrate this festival.
She also believes that the heavy pressure of handling exams just after Diwali dampens the festive spirit for the students. If schools and colleges could re-organise their exam schedules before Diwali or a week after Diwali, it would make a difference. How can a child hope to celebrate this festival if he has to take a maths exam the next day, she asks.
Are schools and colleges listening?
She also believes children have become a little lazy. The excitement of waking up early in the morning, have a traditional oil bath, light some fireworks has palled. Children have also become more health conscious. They turn away from sweets and savouries that is the focal point of Diwali.
She aslo believes that the restrictions imposed on fire crackers and the ban on certain types of fireworks and the consciousness of child labour have robbed Diwali of its special flavour. As a rule, she is averse to loud bursting of crackers and believes that certain rules have to be implemented. But the magic of Diwali has been lost in these bans.
She believes that today`s generation is more interested in New year festivities than Diwali. New year is associated with parties and glamour. This appeals more to teenage minds.
She believes that parents and society must make a special effort to expalin the significance of this great festival. They must be made to visit their families, their grandparents, uncles, aunts and understand the meaning of family harmony.
She and her family will spend Diwali with her in-laws. She has been doing this since she was married and will keep this tradition.
She believes that there are increasing cases of accidents during Diwali. In fact more than anything else, it is the hospitals and doctors who are preparing for Diwali. She believes that the quality of fireworks have gone down. This, plus people`s carelessness has resulted in a rise of Diwali injuries.
She urges everyone to have a safe Diwali.