Monday 23 October 2017

How I brought my 'Gharwali' Diwali in Vancouver!

And just like that, as quickly it had arrived, its gone! Diwali 2017 and my first one in Canada was a bitter sweet experience. Bitter for all the pangs of homesickness and sweet for all the new experiences and memories. Like most Indians, Diwali is my favourite festival too! During my growing up years in Mumbai, it was my favourite time of the year as this festival of lights literally illuminates the whole country with the radiance of joy and hope. Everyone's happy and cheerful; for some its the excitement and thrill of the holiday season, for some its the anticipation of buying new clothes and dressing up in finery, for most people like me its about the sheer joy of gorging on the variety of sweets and savouries prepared for the festive occasion. As much as I like Diwali for these superficial reasons, I also enjoy the customs and rituals attached to it. Every year I enthusiastically partook in all the diwali related activities at home, right from cleaning the house, to decorating it, making rangolis, helping mom make diwali treats, buying last minute presents and so on. It was a time of the year when I spent quality and fun time with my family. Being away from home on diwali feels sad and although I have been through this experience a couple of times before (while I was studying in London), I can never really get used to it.
Diwali fever hits mumbaikars a month in advance, but here in Vancouver there was no sign of Diwali at all. I was already dreading the thought of a dull diwali this year. I comprehended that I would be extremely homesick, if I don't have the diwali feels around me. To make myself feel like home during my favourite festival, I decided to bring my 'gharwali' Diwali here in Canada. Let me show you my small attempt at bringing the diwali feels in Canada.

Home is where the heart is: 
Although not a house owner yet, the rented apartment that I currently live in Vancouver is my favourite place in the city. Its where I spend most of my time and for someone who knows me very well knows that my home is my temple. Its typical to get paranoid about Diwali cleaning,  and with only weekends on my hand to do some real cleaning, I started it a few weeks in advance. I made a list of things I needed to decorate my house and ordered them online. Most of the stuff was ordered from Mumbai, my mum and sister picked up a few things along with my Diwali outfit. Just a couple of days before Diwali I received a box full of Diwali presents and goodies from home.

Truly a festival of lights!

Some ethnic decor

My feeble attempt at making rangoli

Diwali treats that came all the way from home

Diwali dinner on Lakshmi Pujan

Diwali at work:

Diwali fell on a weekday this year and as you can guess it was not a holiday in Canada. However, I decided to go to work instead of staying home and sulking over being away from family. Since I am the only Indian in my office in Vancouver, not many people were aware of this festival or its significance. I took this as an opportunity to share some Diwali gyan with my peeps at work. I dressed up in a traditional outfit and brought in some traditional sweets and savouries to work, and to my surprise everyone liked it. At the end of the day, although I worked on Diwali day it felt like a mini celebration with my colleagues. 

The celebration:

Diwali calls for a big celebration and get-together, so I decided to host a Diwali party at my apartment for my close friends in Vancouver. After all what's a Diwali celebration without sharing traditional sweets and food with your loved ones. I tried my best to cook an authentic Indian meal for dinner. Instead of playing the traditional card game, we played Uno :), took random pictures, chatted, laughed and had a really great time. This was my favourite part of Diwali.

So, as opposed to my fear and dread of not being able to celebrate my 'gharwali' Diwali away from home, this experience taught me that no matter in which part of the world you are or how far away from family you are, you'll always find light in darkness.

 For So-Saree Canada 


  1. Wow, Diwali was brought to life in your home. Very nicely done up with the decorations, mithai platter, warm and inviting decor...Wish you a Happy Diwali!

  2. Happy Diwali and I am with you on missing India. I know how you feel but love the pictures where you brought stuffs from desh. The sweets are mouth watering.

  3. Thank you for this information. I read your blog and I am satisfied with your writing contents. It has a lot of tiny information which is really helpful to understand easily. Keep sharing more news.

  4. Beautiful pictures. I am happy that you are connected to your roots :) :)



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