Kritika Narula


Come Diwali and the festive fervour reaches its peak. Among other traditional rituals, we have the custom of stopping by each other’s houses and showering love and gifts. The festive gusto, zeal, gaiety goes to a different level altogether when we are in a gathering. And there’s more to it than meets the eye. At the epicentre of this chaos and commotion is the ritual of getting together at and visiting homes of friends and relatives and colleagues. Houses undergo rigorous cleansing and decoration.

The whole idea behind this is to ensure that we catch up with relatives we don’t see the whole year, to exchange wishes and bask in the fun and frolic of the five-day fiesta. It is about the gesture more than anything else, but when the gesture involves braving the mind-numbing traffic for hours to spend a few minutes at someone’s place, it can get extremely agonizing. Of late, one can get pretty bogged down by the materialistic tangent that the ritual of gifting has acquired. Impressing your neighbour with the right kind of gift, appeasing your friend with what he/she had asked for, keeping up with the standards of your relatives, measuring the size and worth of various gifts against each other can take a toll on anyone.

Come to think of it: as pointed out before, it becomes strenuous and even gets on our nerves to hop from one home to another in the meagre 5 days we get to celebrate, and then there’s also the task of mopping and shopping for one’s own house. It does become monotonous.

We realize how monumental it is to meet up and have a ball. But the ritualistic gifting and the groundwork for it drains us of all our vital energy resources. And we also yearn to be different in our gifts every year, and every year we end up wrapping the boxes of sweets or wall paintings or for that matter, companies’ ruthlessly-marketed combo-packs, all of which often end up getting re-used as gifts to others! Not to mention, the hilarious instances of your gift coming back full circle to you.
Why not get quirky with some offbeat gifts that one cannot help but keep safe within the contours of their home? Here’s a list of our suggestions:

1. Candles + Chandelier = Candeliers

It’s Diwali. Synonym: the festival of lights. Who wouldn’t want a handful of candles? But who would like a box of candles as a gift. Well, let’s deploy our creativity. You could use plastic spoons and a bottle to make a hanging aka chandelier. Or encompass the candle with cinnamon sticks: rustic yet elegant. Or bring out the shells you collected at the vacations and us them as candles. or get those bizarre wooden pieces out and embellish them with mirrors, yet again using them as candle holders. Or if you are up for a challenge, go on an art spree and try each of these to make someone’s festival of ‘lights’ offbeat.
A little search on Pinterest and you can learn tricks from a plethora of tutorials to hit the nail!


2. Speaking of customs, let’s customise!

Personalized and customized gifts are the way to anyone’s hearts. Apart from making them feel they are special, it shows that you have gone the extra mile to bring cheers to their faces. Get them a customized gift like the usual mugs, T-shirts or go quirky and gift them personalized diyas, accessories, candle holders, et al. while we are at it, how about customised cupcakes and macaroons?


3. Gift an experience

Hectic schedules don’t let people heave a relieved breath amid the furore. So, if you have time to spare, arrange for a dinner or a small get-together to ease the burden of the need to be at the multiple places at the same time. No physical gift can ever parallel a division of tasks.


4. Happy New Year

Friends would be delighted if you gift them movie tickets, not just because they are movie tickets, but more so because they will need to spend less energy, time and brains on ‘how to dispose of this gift or who to pass this further on to’ for a gift. Instead, they will enjoy finding out how it is New Year in October.


5. Technologically quirked up gifts

You think kitchens could never be invaded by smartphones and the likes? Think again! From induction cookers that can play music to Skype connectivity for learning a recipe from family on live chat, you can now connect smartphones or Bluetooth devices to a cooktops, it can play music through its in-built speakers and download an audio cookbook, which the person cooking can listen to and bring out a scrumptious meal in a jiffy.

Sounds good? Get started on your own offbeat gifts!

Featured image credit:

Kritika Narula
[email protected]