On Thursday 18th November, The Mentor Ring organised a Diwali get-together to celebrate the festival of lights. The five-day-long festival is observed by over a billion people worldwide, including Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and even some Buddhists. It is a spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. During the festival, celebrants pray, decorate their homes with lights, come together to enjoy feasts and light fireworks and lanterns.
Sujatha and Sangeetha organised the event. Lockdown had kept people apart, but the Diwali celebration brought the community together in an opportunity to meet up face-to-face after nearly four months. All were welcome, regardless of their religion. Many of the women wore beautiful sarees and accessorised their outfits with traditional jewellery, and the men were just as smart in their fine suits. The atmosphere was upbeat, with cheerful Bollywood music playing in the background while the guests chatted amongst themselves. Diana, our Bollywood dance teacher entertained the crowd with her dancing, and a few of the guests took the opportunity to get up and join in with her. Even Julius was dancing away to glory!
Vilas, our regular Healthy Eating chef prepared a hearty vegetarian meal for all to enjoy. Her vegetarian rice with carrots and sweetcorn perfectly complemented the sweet potato curry with chickpeas, aubergine and spinach. There were side dishes including red pepper chutney with tomato and peanut butter, potato vada filled with sweet potato and peas and even dhokla cake. And for pudding, guests enjoyed the king of Indian desserts, gulab jamun cake.
While the guests were enjoying their food, Sujatha gave a presentation on The Mentor Ring, explaining the importance of the charity and how the people involved help individuals in need of support and guidance, irrelevant of their age or background. Certificates were awarded to the regular attendees of the Yoga and Healthy Eating classes. The Yoga class participants also received a choice of either a yoga mats or a water bottle.
The event was an excellent opportunity for the local community to come together and observe the festival of lights. For some, it was a chance to honour their religion. And for others, it was a chance to understand another culture. But for everyone involved, it was a chance to meet new people, have fun and feel a part of the community.