Far away from home and family? The Internet is a great way to ensure you don't miss out on the festivities

In faraway Cardiff on the morning of Deepavali, Rashmi Kumar was not jolted awake by the piercing sound of 1,000wallahs and hurried flashes of light from her window.

Instead, last year, it was the feeble buzz of her Skype window that disturbed the quiet of the dawn — it was a wake-up call from India, for her to get dressed and join in the traditional family get-together at her home in Anna Nagar. New clothes on, she framed herself on the webcam, for her first online Deepavali.

Good times, a click away!

“My parents traditionally host a family lunch on Deepavali, with all my uncles, aunts and cousins. Last year, I spoke to them online on the webcam and was online throughout the get-together. This way, I felt like I was actually at home, and not missing out on the festivities. I think the Internet helps me stay closer to my family, despite my living miles away,” says Rashmi.

There are other ways to ensure you ring in the festivities in the traditional way.

If getting together the items for a puja baffles your friend, sending a puja thali across the seas is a great idea — and now, it's much easier than booking a ticket for a Deepavali release.

Just a click away!

For Renuka, living in a place where almost anything is just a click away means much more than just virtually being part of the celebrations back home. “The best way I can compensate for not being in India with my family for festivals and special occasions is by sending gifts through online shops. That way, I feel like I'm still a part of the celebrations. It is always a pleasure to see our parents get excited over the gifts that we send through online shops — for a while, it makes us forget the distance. And, most online shops are reliable,” she says.

With online gift portals offering to deliver almost everything from idols to Deepavali sweets to gift hampers, you can be with your family and friends in more than one way.

Last Deepavali, at J. Vengkataramani's residence, it was tradition fused with some ingenuity. “The thala Deepavali is always special. My daughter wanted to seek our blessings just like she would have had she been in India; so, she did the namaskaram over the webcam. It is fascinating to see the kind of things one can use the Internet for,” he says.

Says Shyamala Nandakumar, a doctor, whose younger son and daughter-in-law live abroad: “With a webcam, festivals at home become livelier. They usually see the puja and the other festivities at home through the webcam, and celebrate the festival at the same time as us,” she says.


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