There’s something about the festive season that’s warm and welcoming; it’s all about family time and bonding, “gifting” (which I recently heard of as a proper activity), going home, getting time off, and generally relaxing.

Also read: This Diwali Revisit the Ramayana With Arshia Sattar

Except for those who can’t — Not just the doctors on call, or emergency service staff (who will inevitably deal with burns injuries, despite everyone’s best efforts), or traffic cops, soldiers (who of course are very much in the national discourse), the delivery boys who are doing their back-breaking work to ensure our “gifting” is on track? And there are also those in the news biz — I’ve lost track of the number of peers and ex-colleagues who remember how many consecutive Diwali shifts they pulled (one’s relationship status and religion have more to do with who gets the short straw than you’d think).

And then there are those who are not into the whole festive season… not to mention non-Hindus or non-practising believers — though this festive season, I’m sure across denominations we’re feeling pretty gypped by this whole Diwali-falling-on-a-Sunday thing. (What’s up with that?)

But what of those who aren’t with their families or loved ones, those who are alone, estranged, cut off? It’s not — it can’t be — an easy time. This festive season — much like Thanksgiving/ Christmas in the US — is inevitably about home and family time and bonding. And sure, it can give you the warm and fuzzies, until you hear someone tell you how alone and miserable and alienating it can be, if you don’t have that.
I guess the point is to think beyond our circles: That’s how you can follow, even create a path of light.

Spare a thought for others this Diwali (and even after!):

Check on your friends and colleagues, especially those from out of town: There’s always room for one or two more, when it comes to festivities

Pack a box of mithai in your car to hand over to the street kid at the next red light: With a smile please, instead of a scowl, or the indifferent face most of us have perfected over the year

Don’t yell at your pizza delivery boy or e-commerce delivery person for being late: There’s massive demand and traffic is the pits!

Level up on your Diwali shopping already: Add something for someone less fortunate, whether it’s a list of books and supplies for a school, or blankets to drop off at a shelter, warm clothes to hand out mid-commute

Check out some amazing initiatives out there that make donating even easier: A couple of examples via The Feminist Conf panelist and Deputy Resident Editor of The Hindu, Mumbai, Peter Griffin: Many people are willing to share some serious services (from legal to brand-building to consulting) if you donate (“gift”?) a wheelchair through Wheels for Life. There’s also this shortlist of charities via ‘Polaroid Wish’, that recognises that do-gooders like to feel good too — hence rewards (in this case, sunglasses)

Avoid firecrackers if you’re an adult: Help us breathe!

That would be something. Right? Happy Diwali, all!

Feature Image Credit: Canvas of Light

Read More Stories by Amrita Tripathi