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Brand Spectacle

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A musician can find music in silence, an artist art in emptiness, and a brand enthusiast branding, anywhere.

Though I didn’t hear the word brand in my formative years, I still can’t help recollecting how branding was prevalent in all spheres of life, across the walks of life, and amongst people of different hues.

Diwali was a time of sightseeing the streets, the bazars, and certain locales. As teenagers, we could hide our excitement as we went for our annual rounds to feast the spectacle of festive decorations.

The bazaars were basked in brightness, shops dressed as brides, adorned with flowers and lights, each yearning for well-earned attention. The jewellery shops, in particular stole the show. While most were strikingly handsome, some were on our must-see list, as they always had a special touch about them.

Years later, I understood this as branding. They used every opportunity to express themselves. They didn’t go through the motions. They planned, toiled and assured that they used it as a brand building exercise.

Celebrations have different hues, and in the eighties crackers were a popular expression. Some establishments made their presence through crackers as eager spectators lined up for the fare they had come to expect over the years.

Many housing societies demonstrated branding unknowingly. Each society had its own theme, but a pleasing spectacle was that an identical kandeel of the same colour and size adorned at every house window. And an enlarged version of the same kandeelwelcomed the visitors at the entrance of the premises.

Looking back I wonder whether it is possible to bring back those ways. Quite unlikely. Not that it would have been easy in those days to make everyone agree on a uniform festival code. They would be the odd disgruntled types, or some who would have wanted their own way.

Great lessons of branding – of spirit, teamwork, and consistency.

Festivals change their colours, the festivities change their expressions, but branding will always find a way to express itself.

Posted in: Branding, Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Visible and Invisible Branding

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A New Beginning and Fresh Start

The Five Days of Diwali Celebrations

Diwali is the Indian festival that brings a series of festivals with it. One after another, we get a chance to celebrate five ceremonious occasions.

Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter.

Diwali – Day One

Diwali – Day Two

Diwali – Day Three

Diwali – Day Four

Diwali – Day Five

For some people, Diwali marks the start of a new year and a new beginning and a time for personal reassessment of their life: their personal and family accomplishments, their contributions to society and the poor, their strengths and weaknesses and making plans for a new beginning and fresh start.

Before Diwali, people spend a lot of time and energy cleaning and sweeping their homes and their environment and buy new items for their house to make their homes and environment more attractive.

Swami Chidanand Saraswati asks, ‘But, what about our hearts? When was the last time we swept out our hearts? When did we last empty them of all the dirt and garbage that has accumulated throughout our lives? That is the real cleaning we must do. That is the real meaning of “starting fresh.”

All the Best!

Posted in: Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India

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Diwali – Day Five

The Five Days of Diwali Celebrations

Diwali is the Indian festival that brings a series of festivals with it. One after another, we get a chance to celebrate five ceremonious occasions.

Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter.

Diwali – Day One

Diwali – Day Two

Diwali – Day Three

Diwali – Day Four

Day Five

The fifth day of the festival is Bhai Dooj, the time to honour the brother-sister relationship.

According to the legends, Lord Yamraj, the God of Death, visited his sister Yamuna on the ‘Shukla Paksha Dwitiya’ day in the Hindi month of ‘Kartik’. When Yamraj reached Yamuna’s home, she welcomed him by performing his aarti, applying ‘Tilak’ on his forehead and by putting a garland around his neck. Yamuna also cooked varieties of dishes, prepared many sweets for her brother and offered all those to Him.

Lord Yamraj ate all those delicious dishes and when he was finished, he showered blessings on Yamuna and gave her a boon that if a brother visits his sister on this day, he would be blessed with health and wealth. This is why this day of Bhayya Duj is also known by the name of ‘Yam-Dwitiya’. Thus, it has become a tradition that on the day of Bhai-Dooj for the brothers to visit their sisters’ home and offer them gifts. Sisters also make various dishes for their brothers and give gifts to them.

What is the meaning of “starting fresh”….

Posted in: Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India

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Diwali – Day Four

The Five Days of Diwali Celebrations

Diwali is the Indian festival that brings a series of festivals with it. One after another, we get a chance to celebrate five ceremonious occasions.

Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter.

Diwali – Day One

Diwali – Day Two

Diwali – Day Three

Day Four

The fourth day of the festival is devoted to Govardhan Pooja i.e. worship of Lord Govardhan Parvat,

‘Govardhan’ is a small hillock situated at ‘Braj’, near Mathura. The legends in ‘Vishnu Puraan’ have it that the people of Gokul used to worship and offer prayers to Lord Indra for the rains, because they believed that it were He, who was responsible for rainfall for their welfare. However, Lord Krishna told them that it was Mount Govardhan and not Lord Indra, who caused rains. Therefore, they should worship the former and not the latter.

People did the same, which made Lord Indra so furious that the people of Gokul had to face heavy rainfall because of his anger. Lord Krishna came forward to ensure their security and after performing worship and offering prayers to Mount Govardhan, he lifted it as an umbrella, on the little finger of his right hand, so that everyone could take shelter under it. After this event, Lord Krishna was also known as Giridhari or Govardhandhari.

On the 4th day is the ‘Govardhan-Puja’ or ‘Annakoot’. In the temples of Mathura and Nathadwara, the deities are bathed with milk and adorned with precious clothes and ornaments. Then offerings of a large variety of delicacies are made to them.

Diwali Day Five Story follows….

Posted in: Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India

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Diwali – Day Three

The Five Days of Diwali Celebrations

Diwali is the Indian festival that brings a series of festivals with it. One after another, we get a chance to celebrate five ceremonious occasions.

Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter.

Diwali –  Day One

Diwali – Day Two

Day Three

The day after Naraka Chaturdashi comes Lakshmi-pooja. It occurs on Amavasya i.e. no moon day which is also called ‘Badi Diwali’.

This is the main day of celebrations of the festival of Diwali. The dark night is illuminated by lamps and at dusk firecrackers are burst. New account books are opened after a pooja. Generally the traders do not make any payments on that day to preserve Lakshmi in home. In every household, cash, jewellery and an idol of the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. Friends, neighbours and relatives are invited over and celebrations are in full swing.

The most famous legend behind the celebrations of Diwali is about the prince of Ayodhya – Lord Shri Ram. According to the legend, the king of Lanka, Ravan, kidnapped Lord Ram’s wife, Sita from the jungle, where they were staying as per the instructions of King Dashratha, father of Lord Ram. Then Ram attacked Lanka, killed Ravan and released Sita from the custody. He returned to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and younger brother Lakshamana after fourteen years.

Therefore, the people of Ayodhyaa decorated their homes as well as Ayodhyaa, by lighting tiny diyas, in order to welcome their beloved prince Shri Ram and Devi Sita. Ram is considered the symbol of good and the positive things and Ravan represents the evils. Therefore, Diwali is considered the festival, which establishes the victory of good over the evil. On the night of Diwali, people light diyas, which is again an icon of positive energy to conquer darkness, the symbol of negative energy.

On this day, people wear new clothes and share gifts and sweets with their friends and relatives. Women prepare delicacies and whole house is illuminated with ‘diyas’ and candles. Fireworks and crackers are the kids’ favourites on this day.

Diwali Day Four Story follows….

Posted in: Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India

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Diwali – Day Two

The Five Days of Diwali Celebrations

Diwali is the Indian festival that brings a series of festivals with it. One after another, we get a chance to celebrate five ceremonious occasions.

Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter.

Diwali – Day One

Day Two          

The second day of Diwali is called ‘Narak Chaturdashi’, which is popularly known as ‘Chhoti Diwali’.

One famous story behind the celebrations of Diwali is about the demon king Narakasur, who was ruler of Pragjyotishpur, a province to the South of Nepal. During a war, he defeated Lord Indra and snatched away the magnificent earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi, who was not only the ruler of Suraloka, but also a relative of Lord Krishna’s wife – Satyabhama. Narakasur also imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of Gods and saints in his harem. A day before Diwali, Lord Krishna killed Narakasur, released the jailed daughters and restored the precious earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi.

On second day, people take bath before sunrise, anoint themselves with oil and ‘Ubtan’, a scrub made up of gram flour and fragrant powders. A general custom followed during the second day of Diwali is to burst crackers. People illuminate their homes with diya, as to welcome the set the mood for celebrations in the following day.

Day Three Story follows…..

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Diwali – Day One

Diwali, the Indian festival of lights is one of the most festive, popular and beautiful times of the year. Also called Deepavali, it literally means a “Row of Lights.” It is a time filled with light and love; a time when Indians all over the world rejoice.

It’s celebration include millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed.

Diwali falls towards the end of October, or first half of November each year, on the day of ‘Amavasyaa’, when the moon does not rise and there is darkness all around. The darkest night of autumn lit with diyas, candles and lanterns, makes the festival of lights particularly memorable.

Diwali is a festival of celebrations such as lightings, crackers, cleanliness, colourful rangoli making, social gatherings to exchange greetings and sharing sweets with your loved ones. The people of all age groups and classes with equal zeal and enthusiasm celebrate Diwali throughout India. They put on new apparels and participate in the various activities that are related to Diwali celebrations.

The Five Days of Diwali Celebrations

Diwali is the Indian festival that brings a series of festivals with it. One after another, we get a chance to celebrate five ceremonious occasions.

Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter.

Day One

The first day of this festival begins with ‘Dhan Trayodashi’ or ‘Dhanteras’.

The word Dhanteras is constituent of the terms ‘dhan’ which means wealth and ‘teras’ which means thirteenth, hence it is a festival observed on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha of the Hindu Calendar.

There are two popular legends associated with Dhanteras.

According to the legends, during the churning of ocean by the Gods and the demons, Dhanvantari – the physician of the Gods came out of the ocean on the day of Dhanteras, with a pot of amrita that was meant for the welfare of the humankind. This day also marks the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi, which is celebrated by drawing small footprints of the deity, with rice flour and vermilion powder.

Another legend says once there was a 16-year-old prince known as Hima. His horoscope predicted that he would die of snake bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular day, the prince’s newly married wife, decided to play a trick. She laid down all her jewellery, coins in heaps near the door of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the palace. Then she started narrating stories to her husband to prevent him from falling asleep. Then Yama came in the guise of a serpent. His eyes were blinded by the shine of the coins and jewellery. So, Yama could not enter the chamber of the prince. So, He climbed the heap of the jewellery and sat there the entire night, listening to the stories and songs. In the morning, Yama went away. Thus the prince was saved from the clutches of death. Hence, the day came to be celebrated as Dhanteras.

Dhanteras is an extremely significant day for all. People renovate, decorate their houses and workplaces on this day and make traditional ‘Rangoli’ motifs on the entrance, to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Lamps and candles are lit throughout the night. It is considered auspicious to buy gold and silver on this day. Many people opt for buying new utensils on this day.

New account books are bought on this day and placed before Goddess Lakshmi to get Her blessings. People start new business on Dhanteras because it is believed that business started on this day will be very profitable.

Diwali Day Two Story follows….

Posted in: Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India

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Kindle the Spark within

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Most Indian festivals are a spectacle of lights. They exhibit brightness, vigour and celebration.

For ages the lighting of a lamp has been a sacred symbol. A symbol to connect with the light within. The spark that keeps us lively, bright and healthy.

Darkness, on the other hand symbolizes depression, dullness, and decay.

So is life about stark light and dark, or the shades in-between?

Does light switch off one day to bring complete darkness and switch on another day to bring total brightness suddenly?

The distance between one end of brightness and darkness can be a lifetime, or a fraction of a second.

You may gradually achieve what you set out for and feel accomplished only towards your advanced years of life, or you could see your entire world crash to pieces in a matter of seconds.

So, what purpose do these festivals serve in our lives?

While it’s true, that each of us can find our happiness or sadness within, these festivals do create opportunities.

They provide an occasion to recharge, restart, or reboot.

While the external light provides the ray of hope, it doesn’t have the firepower to keep it burning till its next arrival.

The fire has to be kindled from the spark within.

Happy Diwali!

Posted in: Celebrations, Diwali, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Personal Development

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