Then & Now

Reena Saxena

We are celebrating the festival of Diwali here, in this week. The prompt reminded me of the visits to my grandparents and home-cooked dishes in childhood. As my mother and aunts cooked, we engaged in making elaborate decorative patterns with colored sand, grains, salt or flowers outside the house. Innovation meant using a new material to create the patterns, which would not be devoured by ants. Making paper lanterns was another arena to display creativity.

Circa 2018 … We wish people on Whatsapp, try to minimize work by buying snacks and sweets, or using ready mixes. Health concerns prevent consumption of too many sweets or deep fried stuff. We buy paper or thermocole patterns to be placed outside the door. Electric lights in myriad colors and patterns dot the landscape.The use of firecrackers is restricted, though for the right reasons – pollution  and health hazards to the child labor engaged…

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