Taapsee Pannu: I make rangoli and paint diyas every year on Diwali – Taapsee Pannu has just moved into her plush new apartment in Mumbai. Tastefully done up in white and decorated with pictures, quotes as well as pretty knick-knacks, it resembles a Parisian cafe. Once you step into her living room, it’s the giant wall clock that catches your fancy.
Teaming her red kurta with a matching dhoti pant, the chirpy actress sits down excitedly to shoot some pictures and revisits her childhood memories of celebrating Diwali. Excerpts…
What’s your fondest memory of Diwali?
It has to be the whole cleaning and decoration of the house that happens just before the festivities begin. I belong to a middle-class family, so we never had cleaners. We did everything ourselves. A few days before Diwali, we would go berserk thinking, ‘Aaj yeh kamra saaf karna hai, kal yeh kamra karna padega’. Once we were done, we would start decorating the house with flowers and lights.
How much do you contribute to that now?
I’m fond of making rangolis. I start prepping up a day before. We also paint our own diyas every year. In fact, my sister (Shagun) and I have a competition and decide whose are better. Last year, I had even posted a poll on Instagram (laughs).
Do you have a party at home, too?
Yes, we have a get-together where the entire family enjoys dinner. I make it a point to go to the capital during the festival, as that way I can meet everyone. Though this is my first year at my new house in Mumbai, I’m dying to be with my family. During Diwali, you want to spend time with your loved ones. And for me, Delhi will always be my home. This time too, I’ll be here for two days and then go there for the other two days.
How different is Diwali there as compared to Mumbai?
In Delhi, it’s an intimate affair where you enjoy the festival with your near and dear ones. But in Mumbai, it is synonymous with parties and the various card games that follow.
Along with celebrations, this festival is also about fighting the inner demons. What would you like to change about yourself?
I want people to stop spreading negativity and hatred. Wherever you go, everyone talks about how some people or films are not good. We only discuss the negative aspects and criticise everything. That, makes you a negative person, too. But when you’re a happy person, you see good in everything. I want to start looking at the brighter side of things.
Do you burst crackers anymore?
I used to love bursting crackers as a child. But before I finished school, I stopped doing so as I realised they cause pollution and harm the environment.
Which are your favourite food items during this time of the year?
I love kaju katlis and would hog on them earlier. I used to finish a dabba of mithai on Diwali, all by myself. That was my biggest guilty pleasure. Now, however, I don’t indulge so much. This time, I have challenged myself to stay away from sweets. Let’s see how that goes (smiles).
Any message for our readers on Diwali?
Take this opportunity to get rid of a habit that is bad for you. If you’re thinking of quitting smoking, or drinking or anything else, this is the time you should start. Also, please try and be with your family on this day. We might be busy with our lives, but a few years later, when you look back, these are the moments that you will actually remember, not the time you spent away from them.