Diwali is celebrated around the country with great pomp and fanfare. Yet, every state and every community has their own discussion easy of celebrating the festival that symbolises the advent of new beginnings, marks the victory of good over evil and seeks the auspicious blessings of the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi.
The Leon’s World Centre for Holistic Learning and Development at Rustomjee Urbania, Majiwada, Thane (West) also has its own special way to celebrate Diwali – one that is laden with rich cultural connotations and a whole load of fun!
On the 20th of October, many residents and even some non-residents of Rustomjee Urbania gathered together to take part in some pre-Diwali festivities. The staging of the Ramleela is one such tradition that has been passed down generations. The Leon’s World Centre in association with Grooming Babies staged an award winning version of the Ramleela where the lead roles were enacted by puppet characters, much to the audience’s delight. Parents and kids were also drawn into the performance as they helped form the mountain and the Ram Setu. The children especially enjoyed the scenes where Hanuman sets fire to Lanka and when the two armies of Ram and Ravan clash.
Another fun tradition that Leon’s World Centre introduced to the kids and their parents was building a ‘Mud Kila’ or fort. They used mud to construct small forts like the ones that are made in by children in Maharashtra’s hinterland. Typically, kids adorn these forts with mud statues of Shivaji Maharaj and other folk heroes. It was quiet enjoyable to watch parents getting into the spirit of things and getting down and dirty in the mud with their kids as they fashioned their mud forts.
One of the mothers who had come with her son said, “I think my son was more surprised than anything, because usually I’m the one scolding him for playing in the mud and here we are both getting dirty. I don’t remember when was the last time we had so much fun together! I always knew that when we thought of buying a flat in Thane, Rustomjee Urbania was a good real estate investment, but I would never have imagined that living here would give us so many opportunities to bond as a family.”