Diwali with a difference

At Aditya Birla World Academy, we truly believe in not letting the spirit of any and every occasion go away! Be it the ‘HAPPY PLACE’, ‘Art Auction’, Diwali, Navratri, Christmas…and the list is endless! I still remember the students’ laughter in the school corridors and my Art room buzzing with such amazing and creative budding artists. My Art room at ABWA, my Happy Place. This year 2020 generally is known for the Pandemic and its effects, but in my creative world we have experienced something positive, a change much required in our Middle school curriculum. I call it POP curriculum – Process Over Product, which means our agenda is to let students develop their artistic skills and understand and enjoy the process of creating an Artwork, and not focus only on the end product.

I recently got an opportunity to propose my new Art Timeline and Process based curriculum to a virtual Art Conference, and it got approved too. The same will be aired on 13th November @ Virtualartsummit.com. You can view the same in the link given below;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf9l_X2Nkjs&t=2s

Talking about happy things, how can we forget…It’s Diwali Time….!!!

Diwali, Deepavali, known by various names, but carries the same festive essence. The Hindu Festival of Lights is amongst the biggest Indian festivals, celebrated with zest and joy across the length and breadth of the country. It marks the mythological date of Lord Rama’s return from exile, signifying the victory of light over darkness, and good over bad.

Diwali is a time to don new clothes, spend time with near and dear ones, and celebrate many occasions together. Diwali is probably the favourite time of the year for most of us Indians, as Families and friends reunite to celebrate the festival of lights. Although there’s a feeling of joy and warmth in the air, recently the ways we celebrate this festival have become irresponsible and hazardous to the environment. Also, considering the pandemic situation, we should be more mindful of our doings, so that nature heals in the right way.

Bursting crackers, eventually leads to breathing disorders and eye infections and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Where were these crackers made? How many children are employed in cracker factories? What are the long term ill-effects of kids employed by the cracker factories? Where do street dogs and cats hide when loud crackers are burst almost through the night? Celebrations should not damage our ecosystem or cause pain and injury to defenceless vulnerable animals. Let’s look at ways we can keep the spirit of the festival intact, and be mindful towards mother earth but still have some fun!

Following are some creative ways through which Diwali vacations can be full of fun and creativity.

  1. Light up Someone’s Life
    Yes, we all know...Diwali is the festival of lights and it wouldn’t be half as beautiful without little bursts of light strung around the house. However, try and opt for old-school earthen oil diyas, instead of energy-guzzling electrical lights. Buying your diyas from poor vendors on the roadside will also help them celebrate the festival better. You can also make your Diyas look pretty by hand painting them.
  2. Rangoli…Go Traditional You can’t say it’s Diwali, until your door’s entrance has this beautiful pattern formation, called Rangoli. How about we ditch the oil painted, plastic sticker, and artificially coloured designs and create one using the loose flowers bought from the local florists and come up with your own beautiful scented creations every day.
  3. Ditch Fire Crackers
    Even though there might be eco-friendly crackers available they still release pollutants into the atmosphere. Skip the loud bombs wherever you are. Babies and animals start howling and shivering every time there is a loud blast. Many stray cats and dogs in the vicinity get burns because of the crackers. Even pets sometimes get anxiety due to this.
  4. Organic / Handmade Gift Ideas
    Gifts and Diwali… go hand in hand! How about changing the routine options by opting for organic or Handmade gifting options? Plants make for great gift ideas and a hand painted earthen pot could just be the added love. In order to give someone home décor artefacts, then handicrafts from local craftsmen with a touch of your creativity will be the best thing.
  5. Wrap it Responsibly too
    How about ditching those rolls of shiny, glittery wrapping paper which can be used only once? How about painting some cotton fabric with and unleash your own creativity? Old newspapers also make for a great foundation to paint your wishes on, and add a wonderful personal touch to your present. If that seems too dull, you could even use old printed scarves/ dupattas, to wrap up gifts.
  6. Sweets Can Be Healthy
    We normally go to town on the mithai boxes we send out on Diwali. But how about changing things up a bit and opting for something healthy but still delicious. There are a lot of alternatives to the artificial sweetness and are perfect for those allergic to lactose or the committed vegans. Using the recipe shared below, your recipients will surely thank you for not increasing their calories.

    Dates Nuts Laddu
    Ingredients:
    50 grams – Almonds
    50 grams – Cashews
    50 grams – Pista
    50 Grams – Raisins
    200 grams – Dates
    Half cup – Dessicated coconut (optional)

  7. Process:

    Roughly chop all the dried fruits and nuts. Deseed the dates and chop them too.

    In a mixing bowl, add all these ingredients and mix them well.

    Kindly ensure that you are wearing gloves when you are bringing these all ingredients together.

    Once the stickiness of date holds all the dried fruits and nuts together, start forming small balls as shown in the image. You can also, roll your laddus in dessicated coconut for some extra texture and flavour.


    Image source-freepik

Author

Naznin

Naznin Qureshi

Art Teacher - International Curriculum

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