It’s been an unexpected year of navigating through many firsts, and now, our first ‘virtual’ or COVID-safe Diwali has arrived. In a happy coincidence – albeit a rare one for the disaster that 2020 has been – Diwali falls on a Saturday this year, 14 November. It’s time to party, to bring out your saris and kurtas and puja thalis, and of course, your electronic devices – because an unprecedented year requires unprecedented methods of celebration!
With these quirky ideas for a fun and COVID-safe Diwali, we’re hoping to give you another reason to smile this festive season.
Songbola: Musical bingo
What do you get when you mix the nostalgia of Tambola or Housie with all the latest hit songs? It’s Songbola – a musical game that replaces numbers with songs. In what’s sure to become the latest craze in desi culture, creator Songbola by DJ Hitesh lets people book private sessions and send in their own playlists too. It’s an excellent way to show off your music knowledge… and a fun exposé on how many SRK songs live rent-free in your head. (Guilty!)
Songbola has gone down like a house on fire at COVID-safe Diwali parties, weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries. It can be played entirely over Zoom, making this party invitation open to your gang anywhere in the world.
If you take pride in your drink-making skills, we’ve got a little challenge for you – can you create a drink with a cheeky desi twist? This Diwali, we dare you to peek into the masala dabba in the pantry, pick the one ingredient you could never imagine in a drink, and hero it! Will it be cardamom? Saffron? Turmeric? It’s up to you!
This challenge is done best in tandem with a partner, so go give your family a much-needed break from their laptops and start making up your recipes now! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MyMasaledarMocktail and tag us on social media. Will your special recipe be the star of the Diwali party this year?
It’s that time of year again to hedge your bets and let your competitive streak fly. Online websites like Arkadium offer every card game imaginable and apps like Zynga Poker offer multiplayer options. (Yes, we know – not even a pandemic can keep us away from our taash parties!) With a simple WhatsApp invitation and a little bit of planning, you’re all set to enjoy Diwali just like any year, from the comfort of your living room. Besides, wouldn’t it be so much easier to only put on a kurta top and sit in front of a laptop anyway?
There’s something undeniably homely about making rangolis as a family, whether it’s designing one yourself, using handy rangoli-making tools and stencils, or let’s face it, peeking into Sharma aunty’s front yard (or Instagram post!) to ‘borrow’ her design.
Why should this year be any different? Bring your laptop outside, pull your harem pants up, and get on a Zoom call with your family, wherever they may be. An interesting game would be to pick out a design together and let each individual choose their own colours and ingredients – will your cousin pick the same red petals as you? Or would she rather use rose petals? If you like a little competition, try timing the activity to see who can finish first. We’ve even got your present sorted: a customised, COVID-themed Diwali giftpack! Read on for more…
COVID Diwali gift packs
Gifts and gift packs are an evergreen Diwali tradition, so why not blend tradition with necessity? With our suggested COVID-themed gift packs, you can show your family and friends how much you value them, and how much you have done to keep them safe.
Feel free to expand on this list, but our suggestions include: hand sanitiser, Diwali-themed handmade facemasks, homemade sanitizer, kadha (a traditional immunity-boosting spice mix for chai), amla berry powder, turmeric latte mix, mini jars of honey, and green tea sachets among classic elements like mithai and nuts. Of course, we haven’t mentioned organic candles, or buying them from charity-based operations, because you’re so woke you’ve already organised those….
So you’re away from home and feel like doing a traditional Diwali puja this year. Get virtual, baby! Get together with family, or friends, and set a time when you’ll all tune in. Get the most puja-aware person in the group to organise, and follow their lead. They can become Head Pujari, and send out lists of what to include in your makeshift temple, or you can all throw in your ideas beforehand.
It’s an age-old game of singing Bollywood songs, competing to see who has the best knowledge of music, and it doesn’t have to stop this year! Grab some mates, form your teams, and get the ball rolling with Virtual Antakshari. You’d need a good host to keep track of scores and mute/unmute teams when it’s their turn… and if they’re generous, the host could share screen and put on the lyrics too! This Antakshari might be virtual, but the excitement and competitiveness will be as real as it gets.
Don’t you just hate it when you dress up and there’s no one around to see it? Well, this year’s Diwali fashion show will make sure that’s not going to be a problem. Put on your best festive attire, create a great playlist, and let the party begin! Strut along the runway (living room or bedroom, your pick!) and show off your kurtas and lehengas to your friends and family on video call, and get them to join in too. It’ll get us all out of our lazy sweatpants at last and you never know, your aunties might have moves you’d have never seen coming!
At the end of the day, there is nothing better than the joy and togetherness puja season brings. There’s no reason you should put off celebrating this year – who’s to say a virtual Diwali party won’t be the best one you’ve ever thrown?
We at Indian Link hope you have a dhamaakedaar COVID-safe Diwali and send best wishes from our homes to yours.