With health and well-being the new mantra in the time of coronavirus, buying gifts and other items for Diwali has also taken the eco-friendly and sustainable route. Pune residents are also making certain that there is no compromise when it comes to safety while keeping up with the festivities.
Swapna Sutar, chef at Sweet Si Smile, said the discourse around the minimum use of fireworks prompted her to come up with chocolate firecrackers. “Children… do not understand the repercussions of burning firecrackers. So, taking into account that their next favourite item is chocolates, I believe that not only can they celebrate the festival, but do so in an eco-friendly way. I also add dried fruits like mango, strawberry and pineapple, which make the chocolate healthier,” said Sutar.
Meanwhile, Pranali and Rohan Satish Ursal of D B Ursal and Grandsons, who are fruit merchants by profession, decided to come up with a fruit hamper instead of conventional sweets and dry fruit hampers. “As health becomes the primary topic of conversation due to the pandemic, I thought why not have a fresh fruit hamper that can be gifted to near and dear ones,” said Pranali.
In order to build resistance against infections, gifts have also shape-shifted into immunity boosters and potted plants. Sajin Kumar of Rolling Nature said that while potted plants had been a common Diwali gift item for a while due to developing environmental awareness, the demand for the same has increased manifold. “As people came to know that indoor plants like the common money plants and ferns not only give out oxygen but also purify air, we received more inquiries,” he said.
Online gift purchase has also seen a boom as citizens prefer to stay within the safety of their homes. Bhairavi Malkani of Barfi Box said that while her speciality Sindhi sweet, Sev Barfi, has always been a hot seller, she has received more orders this year. “I was unsure whether people would order this year but apart from our regular patrons, we received orders from new customers as well,” she said.
‘Don’t burn an anar, plant one’
While many have ditched firecrackers completely this year, groups like Gram Art Project and Seed Paper India adopted the concept of seed firecrackers.
“Under BeejParva, firecracker alternatives are made from recyclable material, in a non-exploitative environment and embedded with living seeds. Instead of affecting birds and animals by causing sound, light and air pollution, these are nature-friendly and habitat-rejuvenating. Just sow water and see these crackers hatch into beautiful plants that can be consumed after nurturing,” said Aditi Bhattad, a member at Gram Art Project.
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