Deepavali (also known as Diwali) is celebrated by millions around the world, and the reason behind this celebration varies across the different states and cultures in India itself. This is what makes the meaning of Deepavali even more special (in my very personal opinion:D) as despite celebrating it for different reasons, the joy and festivity that comes with it are all the same, much like the other ethnicities in Singapore.
The most commonly known reason for celebrating Deepavali (mainly in Northern India) is to mark the return of Lord Rama, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman to Ayodhya, at the end of his 14-year long exile and after defeating Ravana, the king of Lanka. To mark Lord Rama's return, his subjects in Ayodhya lit the entire kingdom with earthen lamps. If you'd like to know more of this story, click here.
With the spirit of Deepavali around us, it's the best time to know more about the Indian/Hindu culture or to just get into the Deepavali mood (which is seemingly hard due to the pandemic). Here’s a list of reads for your festive pleasure, I hope you enjoy them!
1. You People by Nikita Lalwani
'A moving, authentic, humane novel which raises fundamental questions about what it means to be kind in an unkind world' - The Guardian
We're HUGE fans of Akshita Nanda and her debut novel Nimita's Place. Fun fact, half the novel is based in the city of Lahore, where our founder is from.
Pallavi Gopinath Aney is a partner at an international law firm in Singapore, and a mentor to young lawyers specifically focusing on diversity initiatives in a changing world. Originally from Kerala and Delhi, she has called Singapore home since 2006. Her writing often tackles the immigrant experience. Kopi, Puffs and Dreams is her first novel.
Aniruddhan Vasudevan’s idiomatic translation of this book preserves the mood of the original, and serves as a constant linguistic reminder that, as readers in English, we are but visitors to this realistic pre-independence Tamil world. For a book that earned its author death threats and was burned by mobs, One Part Woman is a surprisingly tranquil, sensuous read. - The Guardian
Djinn Patrol draws on real incidents and a spate of disappearances in metropolitan India.
1. Whorls Within by Nandini Sen Mehra
1. Galpa: Short Stories from Women in Bangladesh by Niaz Zaman & Firdous Azim