Meet Mukesh: Celebrating Diwali Far from Home, But Close to His Community

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illustration of Indian man Diwali campaign

Delicious sweets, beautiful fireworks, and gifts from loved ones – for children, Diwali is one of the best times of the year. Mukesh Sharda, an account executive here at Ria, felt this way as a kid, too. In his hometown of Chandigarh, India, Mukesh and his siblings cherished the sweets and gifts.

But for Mukesh, the best part of Diwali was something else.

 “We would go out in the street, and we wouldn’t come back home until we finished the firecrackers,” he explains. And this was extra fun because Diwali meant three days off from school for Mukesh.  

Diwali is different now, but some things remain the same

Although still his favorite holiday, Diwali is a little different for Mukesh now that he lives outside of India. Currently, he lives in Brampton, Ontario with his wife and kids. For one, it’s colder than in northern India, which means less time in the streets celebrating. Even more, the holiday isn’t nationally recognized by employers and schools in Canada. Regardless, the traditions and spirit of Diwali are the same.

“We definitely go to the temples and do prayer in our home,” Mukesh says. “My family, kids, and everyone who celebrates gets together.”

And there’s a lot of people who celebrate in Brampton, thanks to the large Indian and south Asian community in the city. Usually, they’ll gather in the evenings after work and school to celebrate.

Although fireworks were his favorite part of Diwali as a kid, he now appreciates wearing his traditional Indian silk clothing to the temple the most. Given to him by his mother, who still lives in Chandigarh with his father, brother, and extended family, the silk represents the most important thing missing from his celebration.

“Everything we need to celebrate is here,” he says. “We do everything exactly the same, but we’re missing our parents.”

The likelihood of travel restrictions means he probably won’t get to see his family from India. Nonetheless, he’s still looking forward to the celebration this year.

Diwali’s importance, now more than ever

Diwali is meant to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, a message Mukesh believes is more important than ever.

He explains: “It’s a message of community. How to take care of each other, how to live together, and how to build a relationship with your family, friends, and neighbors. Whenever you say, ‘Happy Diwali,’ you are spreading the purpose of good health and prosperity for the community and the whole country. That’s the beauty and meaning of Diwali.”

Moreover, it’s a celebration that transcends location and religion. No matter where you are celebrating Diwali, who you are spending it with, or what religion you follow, this is a special time of the year.

 “Diwali is for everyone to remove the dark and bring the light into the world,” Mukesh says. “It’s very encouraging and unlike any other time.”

Light up their life no matter where you are

As Mukesh celebrates in Canada, Pranay Siri will be celebrating with his family for the first time in seven years.

Although it’d be great if everyone could celebrate with loved ones, like Mukesh and Pranay, we know it’s not always the case. So, we want to do our part in helping you feel closer to those you care about. Throughout the Diwali season, we’re offering online money transfer promotions you can use to make this holiday extra sweet. Click here for more info.

From us to you, happy Diwali!

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