How a young Indian family living abroad revved up the excitement one Deepavali…

Exactly one year ago, Festoon was born. In my imagination rather than in reality, but this was the start.

It was 10 days to Deepavali, and as always with Indian festivals, I was busy dreaming up ways to make the festivities come alive for my boys. Living in London, with family dispersed around the world, we had to somehow churn up excitement within the four walls of home.

I had the happy thought to create a Deepavali advent calendar. Ramayana was the first piece of mythology my children knew, and Ravana with the dark undertones to his scholarly character was the baddest of baddies, and (naturally!) their favourite dress-up character.

Ravana, luckily, lends himself well to the theme of a 10-day countdown, and the children’s Ravana countdown calendar went up on the wall.

Soon, lights were up, cakes were baked and decorated, clay diyas and agals were painted, and my wedding bangles were sacrificed to create rangoli and kolam “installations” around the home.

Every evening, we came home from school and work to light lamps on windowsills, and await that moment of supreme excitement before bedtime – chopping off another of Ravana’s heads! This captured my children’s imagination like nothing else – my seven and four year old couldn’t believe their luck at this permitted naughtiness!

I loved how a simple piece of card on a wall made my children so invested in Deepavali that they immersed themselves in the preparations so whole-heartedly. I knew then that I would one day create a brand that brought Indian mythology and tradition alive for families and young people around the world, with fun, humour, and sensitive story-telling. One year later, I begin my journey….