Diwali is just round the corner, and music and telly stars plan to enjoy the festival of lights without increasing noise and air pollution by bursting crackers. They also look forward to celebrating the festival in a different way owing to the pandemic.
Singer Shilpa Rao is going to focus on making food and sweets at home. "As we cannot go out (due to the pandemic), I have planned my Diwali gifts. The best gift this year is homemade food and sweets. If anyone knows how to make sweets and mithai, they should do that with their hands as we all have the luxury of time this year," the "Ghungroo" singer told IANS.
She believes that people should avoid fire crackers, especially because of the Covid situation. "It is a respiratory disease, so I think it is important that we should not add to air pollution. Instead of creating noise pollution, put on music. It will make you happy. Instead of crackers, put on lights in your house, help the local artisans who make lights and diyas," said Shilpa.
Singer Jubin Nautiyal is also all for music instead of crackers.
"My family and I won't burst crackers. Instead of making noise with crackers, I think we will use some instruments for making music," he said.
In fact, he plans to invite his musician friends over. "This Diwali will be only about diyas, lights and music," he said.
Former "Bigg Boss" contestant Shefali Jariwala said Diwali this year will be a little different, though there will be no less enthusiasm or excitement.
"Usually every year on Diwali, we have a lot of events, Diwali parties and social gatherings. This year, consciously we have decided not to do that keeping in mind that we need to maintain social distancing, because we are in the middle of a pandemic. So it will be a homely Diwali with family and a few friends, with a lot of catching up over good food," she said.
She added: "I do not burst crackers because I have a pet and I know it can be traumatic to animals and also cause pollution. But yes, I will be about lighting a lot of diyas and festive lights at home like I do every year," said Shefali.
Actor Sharad Malhotra shared that festivities will be different because of the pandemic this year.
"We will have low-key celebrations at home. We will have Lakshmi puja and we will make rangoli and decorate our house. As a child, I did not hesitate in bursting crackers, but as I grew up I understood how it harms the environment. So, we won't be bursting crackers. A cracker-free Diwali is the least we can do to help keep our environment clean," he said.
Actor Vivian Dsena will celebrate the festival with his family in Ujjain this week.
"Because of Covid, I won't be inviting a lot of people home. It's about just a few friends and family. Festivals are my cheat days, so I try and eat all that I can't eat on normal days. I used to burn crackers as a kid but I don't do that anymore because I know how it can pollute the environment. So I will just decorate my house, put up lights and diyas," he said.
Singer Shashaa Tirupati feels lucky that after probably a decade, she will be able to celebrate Diwali this year with her family.
"I'm in Vancouver, Canada, at the moment and that's where my parents and my brothers live. So, Diwali will be (celebrated) with them. It's going to be a very quiet Diwali because of some familial issues, but I think adversity increases bonding between families. This Diwali will be a special one," she told IANS.
She is strictly against noise pollution, particularly when it disturbs people and animals alike. "I think any festival should be celebrated with the idea of peace and love in mind. I don't mind fireworks and everything within a limit. A couple of fireworks for one day of the year is not too bad but I don't believe in those little bombs because they hurt animals," she said.
Considering the current pandemic situation, actor Nishant Singh Malkhani will avoid going to crowded places or having a big get-together at home. "But I might go see a few of my friends or call just a few close ones over at home. I am against bursting crackers and it has always been a cracker-free Diwali for me. For me, Diwali is also a festival of hopes and positivity, so I offer my prayers to Lakshmi ji and Ganesh ji, and thank them for everything they gave me, and ask them to bless my family and friends with good luck and happiness," he said.
Actor Angad Hasija is in Chandigarh, so it's family time for him. "My whole family is here and a lot of relatives too, so what can be better than having a family get-together on Diwali. We will organise card games, have some good food and sweets. And yes, even this year we will have a cracker-free Diwali, but since my daughter is too small, I may get one or two sparklers for her. But that will be it, nothing more than that."
Actress Meera Deosthale has vowed not to let her Diwali celebrations suffer because of Covid. "I am going to invite my immediate family and a few close friends in the evening and we will do the Diwali rituals. I am going to make a rangoli, decorate my house and dress up for the day. It won't be a grand celebration, but I will make sure that we all have a good time. I don't burn crackers, I have got those glow sticks which we all will use at night," she said.