Designer diyas and ceramic candles, floating rangolis studded with crystals, online prasad and puja thalis, poker sets that cost over a lakh. BS Weekend finds that this Diwali promises to be both traditional and quirky
A colourful pattern at the entrance of the house to welcome the guests, and the Goddess of Wealth, has long been a Diwali tradition. But creating a beautiful rangoli with the customary colours is tedious, time-consuming and requires a certain amount of skill. However, that’s no reason to skip this tradition. Several kinds of instant rangolis are now available in the market or can be ordered online. The simplest, perhaps, are rangoli stickers which cost between Rs 5 and Rs 300, depending on size and pattern, and are readily available at general stores and even in small toy shops. All you have to do is paste the sticker on the floor.
But for a more authentic look, rangoli moulds are a far better option. Again available in different sizes, these are stencils or sieves with interesting patterns made on them. Place the sieve on the floor, sprinkle colour on it and then lift it to get perfect rangoli patterns like flowers, fish, temple designs or the Ganesha figures. Easily available in the market, a set of stencils with bottles of five rangoli colours costs Rs 130. The stencil alone costs barely Rs 30.
The more dramatic designer rangolis can be order online. There are rangolis that float on water, like the floating 10-inch green rangoli with floating flowers and diyas (Indiatimes.com) for Rs 1,100. A similar tray of floating rangoli costs Rs 1,475.
The Mumbai-based Ranjana Arts (www.ranjanaarts.com) also offers beads and crystal-studded moti rangoli, plastic and wooden rangoli — patterns made on a plastic or wooden base that can simply be placed at the doorway — and something called the Asian Paint rangoli (here the base colours are from Asian Paints). While the wooden rangoli costs Rs 600, ready-made floor rangolis are available for Rs 325 each. The moti rangoli costs a bit more, at Rs 450 each, while a nine to ten-inch floating rangoli costs around Rs 110. These can be ordered online. Also available are acrylic Laxmi pagla (Lakmi foot-prints) which can be pasted on the floor. A set (pair of pagla and one swastika) costs Rs 120 to Rs 200, depending on size.
Diyas are a must-have, of course, but tealights too are quite a hit in modern homes. The Eden Tealight for Rs 1,180 is part of the “Adorable Eden” candle accessories collection from Delhi-based product designer Mukul Goyal. Fabricated from a single strip of metal, it has a simple, yet unusual, shape. Check out also the cute elephant candle-holder in white ceramic for Rs 350.
Fusing the traditional shape of the diya with a modern design aesthetic, this set of three diyas from Magppie, called Deep Vandana (Rs 2,500), could light up the puja ghar or add a festive touch to any corner of the house. Made in fine stainless steel, the base of the diyas are cleverly designed to resemble the shape of a flame.
Diwali is the season for bling. This Floater diya in wood coloured a rich gold is from Ishatvam (Rs 450). The shape, a traditional flower, would look good as the centre-piece in the living room or could be the focus for rangoli.
There’s nothing like silver to add shine to the festivities. The puja thali in sterling silver from Episode (Rs 3,000) is shaped like a lotus, with little indents to put your roli, chawal, flower petals and so on. Pair it with the lotus-shaped incense holder.
Order a puja kit, home-delivered. You can have a full Rakshabandhan or Bhai Dooj or Karva Chauth set sent to a relative via the Internet, but for Diwali, the puja is more elaborate. A basic Ethnic Pooja Thali can be ordered on the Indiatimes.com shopping portal for Rs 499. At www.rudraksha-ratna.com, however, get a comprehensive Ganesh Laxmi Puja Thali with 20-plus ingredients for Rs 2,500 or $57.25; or a Diwali kit for Rs 1,645 or $37.75, which also has a Diwali prayer CD.
CLICK, PRAY, PRASAD
Simple pay and pray models have been online now for a while. They range from free animations to free-but-please-donate to pay-per-puja; and from the most famous temples, such as Tirupati, to relatively obscure ones where a lone priest will perform your selected puja for you. In some cases, including Tirupati and Vaishno Devi, you can get live darshan either by visiting “darshan counters”, like bank extension counters, or by registering on the temple trust website.
At the West Bengal-centred Kalighatonline.com, you can purchase a variety of pujas, from a one-person puja at Ma Nistarini Kali Temple for $9.95, to a five-person puja at the Kedarnath Shiva Temple for $245. There are also multi-temple package deals.
Eprarthana.com covers south Indian temples and allows you to search by deity; orders for the Lakshmi Kubera Pooja on November 5 are open till 5 pm on November 4, and cost $9. After the puja you will be mailed prasad and a “silver-plated” Rs 5 coin. Buy multiple pujas without extra shipping charge.
Around Diwali you can offer Ganesh and Lakshmi pujas online. At Divine-rudraksha.com, for $175 with VCD and $115 without, an Ahmedabad priest promises to perform a Ganesh puja precisely for best results; you also get a rudraksha bead and a Ganesh yantra on copper afterwards. Be sure to give the correct date-place-time of birth information!
IT’S A DEAL!
Traditionally, gambling is considered a vice in India. But come Diwali, and it’s very much a part of the festivities. Earlier, it used to be restricted to Teen Patti, but now Poker, too, is an integral part of Diwali. And for that, you need the works — poker chips, dice, pack of cards.
Luxury brand Cartier offers a poker set which comes in a red and black lacquered Sycamore wood chest with striped sides and a checkerboard pattern on the lid. There is some gold-plated hardware too. The interiors are like the upholstery in a sports car. It contains two packs of Cartier playing cards, 360 chips in different colours and denominations with the Cartier logo. Priced at Rs 4.5 lakh, this one is ideal for people who play at extremely high stakes. Available at Cartier stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata
Gifting and greeting cards company Archies too has launched Texas Hold’em Poker sets. These are available in four categories, depending on the number of chips. They come in a wooden box and have two packs of cards and two sets of dice (Rs 2,500-8,000). Besides regular poker sets at local toy stores, a few quirky ones are available at Happily Unmarried stores (www.happilyunmarried.com). There’s one for Rs 2,499 which looks straight out of a casino. This set comes in an aluminum case with 200 chips and two packs of cards. Crossword stores too have a few poker sets available. A vintage set with 300 chips and a wooden box will cost Rs 5,499, while a 200-chip set comes for Rs 3,999.