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Changing spirit of Diwali

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LIGHT UP OTHER LIVES Exchange of goodwill, not expensive gifts, is the spirit of Diwali
LIGHT UP OTHER LIVES Exchange of goodwill, not expensive gifts, is the spirit of Diwali

Changing sensibilities are heralding a different way of celebrating the festival of Diwali, feels MANJIT KAUR

Diwali is a festival that is traditionally associated with lights, `diyas', new clothes and lots of yummy sweets to eat. But like all other things the fast paced life has started affecting our festivals too have changed. Sweets that were earlier prepared at home are now ordered from sweet shops. Buying new clothes was considered special but now with everybody shopping for clothes ever so often, that aspect too is overlooked. "In the olden days people used to start preparing sweets much in advance and going over to a friends or relatives house was something to look forward to. Today due to nuclear families and both the partners working, ordering sweets from outside is much easier than making them yourself," rues Nanda a North Indian in her mid 50's. These days with most of the people being weight conscious exchanging sweets is passé. Gifts of crystal, household articles, and things of utility are more the order of the modern day. Another change that has come over the years is that the list of people to whom the Diwali gifts have to be sent has become longer and couples find it difficult to handle all of them personally. They finally resort to sending the gifts with their drivers or office staff thus losing out on the personal touch. Another social change noticed is in the way of celebrating Diwali. Exchanging sweets and bursting crackers is no longer the mode of celebration. Says Ria, "For the last two years I've been sending the funds that I had earmarked for Diwali gifts and crackers to an orphanage. Initially both my sons were against it as they felt that they were being deprived of the pleasure of bursting crackers. So I decided to involve them too. I took them along with me when I went shopping for the notebooks and shoes needed in the orphanage. On Diwali day I took them along when I went to distribute the things. Believe me the joy I saw on the faces of those children was the best gift my children and I got. This year my children are looking forward to the annual Diwali shopping. In fact my elder son has already rung up the administrator of the orphanage to find out what all they need. This idea was really liked by my friends who have decided to contribute too. So this year we will be able to buy more things for the orphanage and relief centre."Far away from home many families prefer to party with friends to celebrate Diwali. Though Diwali is essentially a festival of lights and fireworks many people are opting out of this kind of celebration as bursting crackers pollutes the atmosphere and the cracker industry is basically a child labour dominated industry. So this year are you game for celebrating Diwali in a different manner and lighting the life of the underprivileged?

Healthy Diwali sweetEnjoy this low calorie sweet meat this Diwali(Serves 5-6 people)IngredientsMilk- 3 litres Custard powder-1 tbsp Sugar- 5-6 tbsp Almonds soaked and sliced- 15Method- Make paneer (cottage cheese) of 1 litre milk. Cool the paneer and put it in a sieve and wash it well under running water. .Boil 2 litres of milk. Let it boil for sometime till the quantity reduces a little. Add the paneer and sugar to the boiling milk. Let it simmer on slow fire for a little while till it thickens. Add the custard dissolved in half cup of cold milk. Cook for two minutes and switch of the gas. Garnish with sliced almonds and serve chilled.

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