Its nice to have peace and quiet morning after a hectic yet beautiful and colorful festival period. Armed with my special jasmine green tea, I decide to sit in the balcony and reflect on the goings on in the past few days. It all started at a gathering at my home one afternoon at the beginning of the festive season when all the girls from the housing complex became a party to the idea of a environment friendly diwali. It was gratifying that they all were receptive to the idea. The journey thus started ended with a beautiful diwali celebration which had creativity, coordination and above all SYNERGY. The result was a fulfilling and enjoyable festival which became an inspiration to others.
The project ʻGreen Diwaliʼ started a fortnight before diwali. The whole building was scrubbed clean under Manisha ʼs supervision whose cleaning skills were known and trusted by all of us. She engaged everyone from the building to clean the common areas in such a way that everyone enjoyed the task.
Sixteen households of the building were decorated in a manner that the building looked as if it was one home. The colour scheme decided was ʻgreenʼ and all the decoration in and around the individual houses reflected green in the most coordinated way. The doors of the apartments had similar ʻtoransʼ which were made out of marigold flowers and leaves. All the green colored old dupattas and saris were used to decorate the outer walls of the apartments. Nandini who was the decoration coordinator taught the older children how to make paper lanterns from the old newspapers lying at everyone ʼs house. These lanterns were then hung in the common corridors which enhanced the coordinated look of the building.
ʻReuse and recycleʼ was the mantra and everyone shared their ideas about reusing and recycling whatever was available at home. Neha advised about how to use the old jars as candle holders. Every household had few empty jars, which were painted green in different patterns and used as candle holders. The balconies facing the playground were lit up using these candle holders which were placed at uniform distance thus making the whole building look absolutely stunning.
The stairs were lit up with small candles which were made out of cola drink caps. The wax from half used candles was melted and poured into these caps which were lined with a wick. Each step of the staircase was illuminated with two such candles and this made the whole staircase look vibrant and radiant.
The corridors were decorated with plants galore! It was indeed a warm feeling that the girls had implemented the idea of gifting plants to one another as diwali gifts. These plants were then used to decorate the building. All the corridors were lined with “bamboo palms” especially because it grows out like a sparkle. The greenery in the corridors gave the building a very welcoming and warm look. The corners of the staircases were filled with the ʻsnake plantsʼ and ʻChinese evergreenʼ plant. Dipti made beautiful rangoli with pebbles around these plants which gave a beautiful look to the passages. Azaleas and Chrysanthemum were placed strategically so that they add color to the whole set up At night, as the candles were lit, the whole building was oozing with warmth and love. It was indeed overwhelming to see a collection of sixteen apartments as one big home. It became an attraction for all the neighbours and gathered appreciation from all. It was an inspiration too for the other buildings who now were planning to adopt this project for every celebration.
As the evening progressed, all the families came together to dine and make merry in the common room. To give out a message that we are against air and noise pollution, all the building mates decided to say no to crackers, instead it was decided that there will be a ʻTalent Showʼ for everyone. The kids had prepared poems, skits, dances to entertain everyone which were thoroughly enjoyed. This was followed by card sessions for couples engaging them in healthy banter and enhancing camaraderie.
Diwali is all about the journey from darkness to light, from ignorance to awareness. This era is about awareness, realization, cognizance. The conscious brain knows what has to be done, its the time to do the action. The environment has a carrying capacity that needs to be respected and we need to alter our practices to honour the environment. The project ʻGreen Diwaliʼ was one such endeavour and I was looking forward to see this seed of idea grow as a healthy plant of ideology.