If you are planning not to go back home this Diwali, you should definitely try the following so that your holiday doesn’t go to waste.

The festival of lights is already here, having enlightened people to make their plans for this Diwali. The sight of the earthen ‘diyas’ brings smile to the faces that look forward to light them. The entire idea of bursting crackers makes up for the most memorable moments of everyone’s childhood. The variety in the scent of the mouth-watering dishes that overpowers the breeze- become the harbinger of the guiltless cheat.

However, if you are planning on staying or are staying away from home this Diwali; you will be in need of the some suggestions. This is because despite consoling oneself of one’s capability to spend through the festive days. It becomes tough: the thoughts of the past have this tendency of haunting you, making you miss your friends and family, thereby, filling you with a sense of regret of the decision of staying alone.

1) Join your relatives:
This should top your list if you are lucky enough to have relatives in the same city as you are living in. This is equal to spending time with your family. Moreover, cousins make up for the best match to spend a festival with; you might recall your childhood memories, play card games and most importantly, have home-made food, something that most people are unfortunate to miss out on.

2) Spend some me-time:
This will definitely work for you if you are a loner kind of a person. The best part of staying away from home is the luxury of being able to give yourself time and perch upon the thoughts that otherwise you would have been unable to do with all those doting relatives surrounding you. You can either watch a movie and order good food or just sleep the entire day and do nothing. This is definitely not less than nirvana!

3) Volunteer at charitable homes:
This might be a good way to spend the Diwali if you are missing the company of your loved ones. You might foster some new and exciting bond with people who will have really interesting stories to tell. Moreover you will contribute and help bring light to the life of people living in the margins. These neglected people living in reduced circumstances are not able to spend this festive time as they rightfully deserve to. The smile that you will bring on their faces might bring you a lot of joy and happiness. As everyone says a little good deed goes a long distance.

4) Getaways on a limited budget: There are a lot of good places to visit near Delhi. These trips can be covered in a day or two on a very limited budget. There won’t be a better time to take a trip that you have long been planning to but are unable to because of the busy schedule. You can visit Lansdowne, McLeod Ganj, Kasauli, Surajkund or any other place. This getaway will help you rejuvenate yourself especially as semester exams are not far off and you will need to start preparing as soon as Diwali ends.

5) Explore the city:
If you don’t want to take a trip there are many other options that you can try. Delhi itself has a lot of beautiful places and monuments that you can go out and explore. You can take your camera and capture these beautiful places. Being alone has an advantage that you are not dependant on someone else to make a plan. Other than that you can indulge yourself in some shopping. Who does not like spending money on clothes and food?

So we hope that you seize the day and enjoy this Diwali at its fullest.

Image Credits: Fsquare Fashion


Shrija Ganguly
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Anukriti Mishra
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In light of the recent Banaras Hindu University controversy comes to mind the question of moral policing and gender. Different in-times in college hostels for boys and girls show how the administration tries to morally police women. The fear of female autonomy and expression of sexuality is so deep; it makes colleges implement these sexist rules and guidelines in order to curb them.

Seemingly liberal colleges, where conversation around feminism and gender is never lulled, have restrictive hostel timings or a different in-time for boys and girls (not officially but in implementation). The in-time for Daulat Ram College’s hostel is 7:30 PM, for the Miranda House Hostel, is 8:30 PM, for the Rajiv Gandhi hostel for women, is 9:30 PM as is the Hindu College girls hostel. Timings for Men’s hostels are also somewhat similar but the difference is they are never really enforced. The Post-Graduate Men’s (PG Men’s) hostel for instance on its prospectus has an in-time of 10:40 PM but according to sources, the in-time is never followed. Srivedant Kar, a resident of PG Men’s hostel says that while the prospectus reads 10:30 PM, there really isn’t an applicable in-time there. He mentions that the PG Men’s hostel is “open 24*7”. A resident from Rajiv Gandhi Girls Hostel, who would like to stay anonymous, says “The in-time is 10:00 PM and it is strictly implemented”. Hindu College offers hostels to both boys and girls but here is how both are treated differently. According to Muhammad Daniyal Ubaidullah, a student of Hindu College “Boys’ in-time is hardly a reality, as in, it is not enforceable at all. Girls hostel is strictly around 10:30, I think”. Kirori Mal College (KMC) hostel’s in-time is 11:00 PM ( please note-three and a half hours later than DRC, two and a half hours later than Miranda). When I asked an acquaintance living there if the in-time was implemented his reply was “not really”.

Two people from a similar age group are allowed radically different levels of independence. So, if a girl gets back to the Daulat Ram College hostel at 8:00 PM instead of 7:30, she may have to go through disciplinary action, humiliation, and child-like admonishment but if he were a boy living in either the Hindu College boys hostel, KMC boys hostel or PG Men’s hostel, he would have the liberty to walk in as and when he pleased. This system which allows one eighteen-year-old boy to be out all night but expects another eighteen-year-old girl to inside the hostel premises by 7:30 PM sharp is shameful and sexist. It is these kinds of discriminatory laws that infantilise women. It reiterates that women are incapable of taking care of themselves and should be indoors before it gets dark.

The idea of a woman being out at 10:30 PM was apparently so threatening, so unsettling that administration nipped this problem in the bud itself. The radical difference between how boys and girls hostels are treated highlights a deeper problem. The underlying root of this form of strict discipline enforcement is moral policing. This moral policing stems from a) a fear of female independence and b) an attempt to control women and curb their decision-making power. If a university willingly chooses to limit the choices the women studying there can make, we have a problem at our hands.

Here is how these discriminatory timings play a greater role than they seem to have. Every time a girl needs to rush back to meet her 7:30 or 8:30 PM deadline while her male counterparts continue to be out, it reminds her of how societal perception of what girls should do and how they should behave has still not changed. This mould of a “good girl” that’s so aggressively marketed by college administrators, movie makers, and pop culture subconsciously affects us, one that is idolized, glorified, put on a pedestal if reinforced by these ridiculous timings. Those who choose to speak out and rebel are often problematically labelled as “feminazis” (casual usage of the word “Nazi” is insensitive).

Here is another dangerous idea which is behind these ridiculous in-timings, the idea that women will be “unsafe” at night and therefore need to be actively protected and locked indoors. It is this restrictive in-time that stops women from “reclaiming the streets” so to speak. If women won’t be allowed to step out at night, the idea that women are unsafe after dark will only strengthen. That part in Jab We Met where the ticket conductor compares a woman a lone woman to an open box of riches, ready to be ravaged, was not funny then and is not funny now; simply because it hits home. Because I know that isn’t some random dialogue in a random film that will not matter the second I step out of the theatre. That sentence defined and reflected the beliefs of our society at large. The fact that in a place like the University of Delhi, one of the most “woke” institutions in India allowed such outright discriminatory rules to stand and gave men a free pass while caging women shows how little is progress that we have made.

It is imperative that authorities recognise that this form of moral policing does a gross injustice to the young women whose idea of self they are meant to shape and positively influence. Universities across the country need to stop acting like the self-anointed guardians of women. When we don’t question the reasoning behind these chauvinistic rules, we give them legitimacy. Rules that reinforce age-old problematic norms about women, try to constrict their freedom and independence should be actively questioned and fought against.

Image Credits: The Hindu

Kinjal Pandey
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