“We have always taught the kids to value their little gifts. It’s more about significance vis-à-vis noise,” says the couple

This year, Bollywood is celebrating Diwali in full swing and the excitement is palpable. Genelia and Riteish Deshmukh, who have been soaking in the festive spirit at various Diwali Bollywood parties, say, “Diwali is the essence of India as it’s a culturally and traditionally strong country. This year, the festival is going to be more exciting as compared to the muted celebrations in the last two years of the pandemic. In fact, even people from our film fraternity have opened their homes. We have been to a couple of pre-Diwali parties at their homes in the last few days.”

Diwali, for the Deshmukhs, however, is a sign to head to their favourite place — their hometown in Latur. Riteish shares, “Having a big family is a bonus in many ways. The fact that we go from Mumbai to Latur to celebrate this festival in our village makes it even more special. It’s just us — no work, calls and parties. Those three-to-four days are spent with family and kids. We are three brothers, and each one takes a day to do something special with the kids. So, this is a nice time when the Deshmukhs and Genelia’s family celebrate it under one roof and the kids have a blast.”

Genelia and Riteish feel that the significance of Diwali is a lot different today. Genelia says, “Initially, the festival was more about crackers, food and parties, especially while growing up. However, today, it’s family-oriented, rooted and cultured. We look forward to this festival because it is about going home, going through the farms, meeting people, making rangolis and indulging in sweets and faraal. To be precise, Diwali to us means our home, our village, family, traditions and customs.”

What has also changed over the years is the way they celebrate the festival of lights. Genelia shares, “Our kids (sons Riaan and Rahyl) are actually our conscience and have taught us more. Even the step to go eco-friendly came from them. I grew up bursting crackers, but for my kids, it’s always about ‘Aai, we shouldn’t cause pollution’. Even while choosing our car, I remember them going to Riteish and telling him, ‘Baba, we should have an electric car because it doesn’t add to the pollution’. So, I think the whole thought is something our kids taught us, and we follow it with them. Honestly, I think that today’s generation is quite aware, and they want to do the right thing all the time, which I think is beautiful. During Diwali, no matter how small or big it is, we try to recycle the decorations like sheets of paper to make little diyas and rangolis. It’s these little things that add up to the beauty of the festival.”

Talking about the little joys of life that the festival brings along, the couple says, “We have always taught the kids

to value their little gifts. It’s more about significance vis-à-vis noise.”

‘Diwali is Also about passing on traditions to the kids’

At the Deshmukh household, there are certain traditions that Genelia prefers to execute on her own, like the decorations, applying
ubtan and
pehla paani. “Cleaning the house is followed as a ritual before Diwali, and I look into it personally. There is a lot of thought and preparation that goes into gearing up for the festival. For us, it’s also about passing on a few traditions to the kids and getting them involved in little things,” shares the actress, adding, “Well, the day primarily is about family and with family. We wake up in the morning, shower, get dressed in our finery and touch the feet of our elders. Then we have a puja in the evening. There’s authentic Maharashtrian food on that day, which we binge on. It’s a day just for the family.”

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