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The significance of this festival, is that it teaches us that ultimately ‘good triumphs over evil’. I have memories of Ravan effigies being burnt in Delhi and Faridabad. If I am not travelling, I love to celebrate Dussehra at home, with family and friends. A clean house has a healthy flow of energy, which motivates us to live a positive life. I am particular about cleanliness and keep my home well-organised on a daily basis.
During festivals, I change the look of the house by getting new soft furnishings and rearranging furniture. I also like to decorate the main door, with a rangoli. When it comes to celebrations at home, special food is a must. Thanks to my brother, who is a chef, the food at home is also served in style. The appetisers, main course and desserts, are showcased on the table, which make the guests feel welcome. We always end our get-together at home, by singing songs. There can be no celebration without music.
Dussehra symbolises restoration, after the destruction of evil. I celebrate Dussehra by decorating my home in a traditional way and if possible, go and watch Ravan Dehen with my daughter. The main door is decked up with a lovely toran.
The fairy light decorations and the fragrance of marigold, rose or mogra flowers, are an essential part of the festivity. I also burn incense sticks the whole day, to boost the spiritual quotient of the house. I love a clean and fragrant home. The temple is well lit up and the idols are dressed in beautiful attires and in delicate floral garlands.
I like to light diyas at home, especially in and around the temple area of the house, as they add to the radiating glow. I use fancy thalis, which are loaded with home-made prasad and sweets, which are a must on the festive day.
Dussehra teaches us that bad things never survive for long. Being a working mother, my family also contributes to keeping the home neat and tidy. Cleaning the house, ushers in the positive spirit of festivity and prosperity. I like to de-clutter and look out for ways to enliven the celebratory atmosphere. I decorate the home with rose petals arranged in bowls, with water and diyas. Various lights and the fragrance of rose petals are an essential part of the festivity, which enliven the home. I like dressing up in a traditional attire. I always make chole puri, halwa and kaju katli. I spend the day with family, neighbours and friends.
Dussehra signifies the beginning of the festive season and removing all that is unwanted and negative. In my younger days, we children would celebrate Dussehra by making an effigy of Ravan and burning it. Now, my wife and I redecorate the house after deep cleaning. An orderly home helps one to live in a sanctuary, away from the chaos of the outside world. For Dussehra, we buy new things for the house, to add a festive spirit. We adorn the home with decorative lights and lamps, as well as fragrances and scented candles. Since childhood, I have always been fond of making the home bright with twinkling lights and I end up doing the electrical work at home, myself. We also have a small pooja at home, on this day.
Dussehra signals the start of the auspicious time and the festivities continue with my birthday and culminate with Christmas and New Year.
We have a small pooja at home every year. I believe in eco-friendly celebrations and hence, we do not use any products that could harm the environment. My mother likes to dress up the house with fresh flowers, as the colours add positive vibes and happiness. Floral arrangements infuse freshness and a festive touch.
No festive celebration is complete, without sweets at home. Dusting, mopping and vacuuming the house are done on a regular basis. We have dogs at home and so, it is an additional challenge, to keep the house clean. I have the fondest memories of Dussehra from my childhood, seeing Ravana effigies being burnt with firecrackers.
A clean house is important, for the well-being of the entire family. It banishes negative vibes and aids in living a more harmonious life. Cleaning for the festival, begins well in advance. Navratri, the nine days of celebration for Goddess Durga, concludes with Dussehra on the tenth day. On the day of Vijayadashami, women offer sindoor to Ma Durga and smear it on each other. I prepare delicious Bengali food like shukto, etc., as offerings for the deity.
For Bengalis, the festival begins on the fifth day, which is celebrated as Mahalaya. Special pujas are held on the eighth and the ninth days, known as ‘ashtami’ and ‘navami’ and the last day is for the immersion of the idols. I celebrate Durga puja and Dussehra with my family and friends, at home. I decorate the main entrance with a rangoli of flower petals and diyas. I also drape fairy lights on the plants at home, to create a scintillating and welcoming atmosphere.
Actress and entrepreneur
A clean home ushers in positivity during the festive season and it is also important for hygiene and health. Cleaning the home can be quite a task. After years, I am lucky to have found a cleaning lady (Manju), who enjoys her work. Although I still oversee the work as much as I can, Manju does not give me any reason to complain. I have my wardrobe cleaned and reorganised, as often as I can. I have different sections for different outfits and that makes it easier, especially when I am in a hurry.
Before Dussehra or Diwali, I get a thorough cleaning done. Everything, from the walls to ceilings and sofas, are cleaned.
The best way to de-clutter one’s home, is to donate old items like clothing, etc., and this also makes me feel good. During festive days, I love to light candles of different types (floating and fragrant candles, fragrant diyas, etc.) as they make my home glow and smell good.
I cannot stand dusty and dirty places. I have a cleaning lady, who dusts my house on a daily basis. Apart from that, I have air purifiers in all rooms, to rid the air of allergens and pollutants. I am prone to allergies because of humidity and so, I have a dehumidifier in my bedroom. Usually, my wardrobe is well-organised but now my clothes have increased in number. I have a separate cupboard for bags, shoes and accessories. I need the help of two attendants, in my makeup room.
For the festival, I start by cleaning the fans, chandeliers and the kitchen in advance. I try and discard old stuff and get the carpets dry cleaned. I usually buy bedcovers, cushions and rugs every year, to add a colourful change for the festival. I keep diffusers in all rooms, especially the bathrooms, for a fresh smell. My mother is an artist from Kolkata and she often gets lovely decorations for the home, during Dussehra.
A clean and uncluttered home sends out positive vibrations. I am lucky that my house is on the 23rd floor, so there is less dust at home. I make sure that my domestic help cleans the house well because I am allergic to dust. Not only is a clean house hygienic, but is also aesthetically appealing and generates positive vibes. My wife and I celebrate festivals in eco-friendly ways. I also dispose of all the waste carefully, by segregating the garbage in a proper manner, so that the environment remains clean. I declutter my house every six months and give away unused items to charity. My wife loves to make colourful rangolis and arrange diyas and LED lights during Dussehra, to enliven the ambiance.
A clean and dust-free house is important, as it helps one to feel good. I ensure that my staff clean the house daily. Before Dussehra, I do a thorough cleaning of the entire house. I love clothes and I try my best to keep my closet organised. As Dussehra is an auspicious time, I believe in keeping the house clean, to welcome the Gods. My staff start cleaning the home a week in advance and each nook and corner is cleaned. I like to deck up my home with fresh flowers, as they make home welcoming. Aromatic candles, fragrant flowers and the soft glow of diyas, adds to the positive ambiance and give a feel-good emotion.
Cleaning the entire house has religious and spiritual connotations. Cleanliness is associated with divine energy. Since childhood, I have always been particular about cleanliness and my wife Shubhi shares this trait. I keep the windows closed most of the time, to avoid dust and we regularly vacuum clean our home. As an actor, I need a lot of clothes and accessories and hence, my wardrobe is always organised. Before Dussehra and Diwali, we donate the stuff that we no longer use. I get fresh flowers during the festivals and my wife decorates the home with festive lights. I believe that a clean house has healthy flow of energy, which motivates us to live a positive, happy and healthy life.