Spreading the lights of happiness
Diwali is for everyone to celebrate, even for a group of disabled people who organised their first Diwali event and inspired each other to be creative
Diwali is celebrated to keep the darkness and evil at bay. But what about disabled people whose lives have already drowned in the sorrows of darkness, where there is no hope to recover from the trauma inflicted by their fates? Their families have left them on their own without any support and they hardly find any reason to celebrate the happy occasions.
This Diwali, a group of disabled people decided to come forward and bring light into the lives of others like them, by organising a three-day event named 'Ek Diwali Aisi Bhi'.
Centred around the theme 'Brightening lives through the light of goodness', the event was held from October 31 - November 2.
On the first day, group leader and event host Nitesh congratulated his team for the thoughtful initiative. Several activities were conducted to inspire disabled people to do something creative and at the same time celebrate Diwali like everyone else.
Nitesh, who survived a train accident several years ago, said, "It takes every ounce of willpower to believe that even disabled people can celebrate festivals like others. Situations in our life make it difficult for us to go out and do anything on our own. But this Diwali, we decided to change the narrative. And here we are, celebrating Diwali like never before with our near and dear ones!" said Nitesh with a smile.
The event started at 10 am with a prayer song for Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi; presented by 10-12-year-old kids. "Never in my life had I imagined that these children, affected by problems like intellectual disability, paralysis and autism could sing a song so beautifully, as if they have been trained by a professional music teacher," admitted Karla Boris, a resident hailing from Mayur Vihar, Phase 1, who was invited by friend Nitesh to take part in the festivities.
Next in the line was a rangoli making competition, in which disabled people actively participated and presented their designs to everyone.
Wheelchair-bound Ambar, who is the victim of a rare disease, also shared his idea behind holding a gathering like this. "Our main goal is to empower disabled people to do what they love doing. We do not want to burden ourselves with the expectations of society by doing what others do for earning a livelihood. So, we just let the creativity in us flow out – whether it's by making rangolis or doing dance, and earn our daily bread," mentioned Ambar, who was also co-host of the event.
The second day began with a musical on the lives of disabled people and how they hope to achieve their dreams through sheer determination. The audience was moved by the performers' real-life struggles and the emotions they hide in their hearts. It was followed by a dance and music programme by autistic children.
"We cannot dance on our legs, but we can dance with our emotions and impress others with our wheelchair dancing skills," said Ranjan on behalf of his dancing troupe.
The third day of the event, however, was cancelled due to the untimely demise of a few group members. Though no performances were held, everyone stayed together for the prayer meets in remembrance of their friends.
"We wanted to honour the hard work of the departed souls by selling their beautiful handicrafts to people. It is what they would have wanted us to do even in bad times. After all, we had promised ourselves to celebrate our first Diwali event in the best way possible," said Nitesh.