Presents of mind

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | PRIYA RATHNAM
Published Oct 27, 2019, 12:01 am IST
Updated Oct 27, 2019, 12:05 am IST
Gone are the days when lavish Diwali festivities spelt worse news for the environment.
Diwali Cracker Cake by Naadia Mirza.
 Diwali Cracker Cake by Naadia Mirza.

Diwali, this festival of lights that honours the victory of good over evil, adds brightness to our lives. And gifts are the perfect way of letting the light shine for us as well as for others. Right now, Bengaluru’s bakers and gift-hamper makers are ready with their unique initiatives to make Diwali sparkle even brighter with their eco-friendly efforts. Like Naadia Mirza, founder of a gift hamper platform, who says that as the trend towards gifting increased, she saw the need of the hour and incorporated some unique touches to what was on offer. Way before the plastic ban in the city, she had adopted the use of hampers that were plastic-free and eco-friendly. “Today, it is not only what you gift, but the emotion behind it and the details that go into it,” observes Naadia, who helps her customers customise the hampers for such ‘conscious gifting’.

“This Diwali, it is eco-friendly hampers and chocolates that are the most popular,” says the creative entrepreneur, who works with various artisans who also contribute their ideas. She admits though, that she finds the most inspiration when she travels and explores local markets wherever she goes. In the true spirit of Diwali, her platform also does its bit for charity, with 0.2 percent of every sale going towards the education of under-privileged children.

 

Anamika Bist, founder of a venture that helps the urban population experience the pleasure of village life, contributes in her own way on Diwali. She says, “To promote conscious responsibility towards Mother Nature, we introduced ‘seed diyas’ and recycled paper lanterns. It is heart-breaking to see ourselves celebrating with no responsibility. We managed to capture the requirements of the individuals who understand the seriousness of the issue and provide them with greener initiatives.” Anamika’s own Diwali plans are clear and reflect her concern for the environment. She says, “After puja at my home, I will go with my family and spend some time with my employees and take care of the pets that cannot handle the volume of crackers. A simple dinner after that is on the cards.”

Nidhi Nahata is the founder of an oil-free and dairy-free café. According to her, the best investment during the festive season is in good food. She adds, “This year, our healthy delicious Diwali menu has buttermilk, pineapple shorba, sundal salad, tofu tikka and more… all made with ingredients that are healthy. Also, sharing gift hampers of Diwali chocolates without any added refined sugar is also a healthy way to celebrate. My interest in good and healthy food was the primary reason to start this cafe and I’m really overwhelmed that I can contribute to society and the environment like this.” Contribution to the environment is clearly one of the café’s prime priorities, as they do bagasse packing, offer reusable cutlery, minimum use of bottled water, minimise kitchen wastage, etc.

When our most popular festivals start to support a better lifestyle that impacts the world more positively, it certainly spells good news for everyone concerned.

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