Light on the face of water

GIVE LIGHT TO ALL Sparklers will get the kids excited and terracotta lamps add the traditional touch   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: G. R. N. Somashekar

The irony can’t be escaped: the agony of floods shakes hands with joyous celebration of Deepavali. Here are a few tips for a memorable festival bash, writes NEETI SARKAR

The irony is glaring. While one part of our immediate world reels under the effect of floods – homeless, cold and hungry, the other half carries on, lighting up their lives and homes.

Market experts wax eloquent about their favourite, heady shoppers. While some have already switched to party mode by getting the house distempered, going on that long-pending shopping spree and bringing out the polished brass urlis. If you are in the mood for a big bash, here are some extravagant and pocket friendly tips. If your house isn’t freshly painted, don’t fret. All you need to do is clean up your living room and change the drapes. Bring in some vibrant colours like red, yellow and orange. Make sure you get a new set of ethnic cushion covers, preferably ones with exquisite mirror-work on them for your sofa set. Gold bordered colourful bamboo mats can be used to give a more traditional look.

Polish your silver. Get a different urn this time for the entrance. Terracotta ones are all the rage now. Deepavali is about the diyas so make sure your supply doesn’t run out. Diya shaped candles are also a good choice. Scented candles are a must. Don’t forget to collect rose petals and floating diyas for the urli. You could use smaller urns to decorate other parts of the house.

Lampshades bring that extra bit of glow. You could also get your kids to help you make paper lanterns and use them to decorate the porch. Go berserk with the rangoli. Multihued patterns are in. Use the excess petals here.

If you are willing to splurge, party planners of course have an answer to every situation. Says Puja Aneja: “Marigolds are still Deepavali specials, but you could use other flowers too. Chrysanthemums and carnations are a good choice. Orchids are also being picked up for this purpose. Use unsophisticated vases for a change.”

Bells of different sizes would look nice in different parts of the house. A nice large bell at the entrance of the house probably. Warli paintings would look really classic and ethnic as well. .

Puja would suggest a traditional party with a Rajasthani theme that would include “lots of mirror work, earthen pots, handmade clay gifts”. Taruni Das of Event Affair thinks: “It’s got to be more spiritual this time with motifs of gods and goddesses on wall hangings, and table cloths.”

If it is a card party you are planning to host, go easy on the food. Stick to dry nibbles. You could however, prepare a variety of dips and chutneys. “For a dinner party, you could do the usual biryani-raitha. Saffron rice is another option. Make sure the vegetarians’ taste buds are also satisfied. A Rajasthani cuisine is ideal,” opines Puja.

Electronic gadgets like iPods, PSPs and mobile phones can be gifted to your kids and to your spouse. Other kids at the Deepavali party can be gifted with a box of sparklers and chocolates. Women would love being gifted a basket of goodies or of essential oils and perfumes. Silver coins with the impression of the goddess of wealth are usually gifted at Deepavali parties. Scented candles and handcrafted artefacts are also good gifting options. With no time to handpick gifts for your guests, a gift hamper is the perfect solution.

But, as one gets into the mood of festival of lights, one wonders whatever happened to the simple ways of celebrating the festival: have a good oil bath, wear new clothes, burst crackers and have a good meal. When did everything suddenly acquire a lavish, North-Indian twist?