Five tips to look your best on Diwali in the time of pollution

Stick zari kinari on your mask. But please, wear masks.

 |  4-minute read |   05-11-2018
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It’s that time of year again, light, bright and sparkling. Diyas spread their golden glow. Lights put on their Chinese show.

Only, if you are in Delhi — for that matter, many other Indian cities — along with the festivities, pollution spreads its grey cloak. People, animals, other life forms choke.

The air is grey, but the heart need not be. The air is grey, but the heart need not be. (Photo: PTI)

However, to generations of Bollywood-hardened humanity, these are minor deterrents. Diwali is the time to send out the joy — and the poison — of crackers into the air, waste watts of electricity, contribute to global warming, and of course, dress up and deck up.

In keeping with these changing times, here’s a list of five easy ways to look your best at Diwali in the age of pollution.

DIY festive masks:

The heart is full of joy — but the lungs are full of fumes. Now that masks have become an indispensable part of our lives (if you aren’t wearing one yet, please start), they need to be suitably festi-fied. The people who make and sell these masks seem to have missed out on a brilliant marketing opportunity, and are still selling masks that only do the job of letting you breathe in clean air.

That’s obviously so not enough.

So, bling up your masks. Take sequins and get to work. You can take different-coloured sequins and mimic that psychedelic lighting at your neighbour’s house, changing colour every dazzling second (all night long). If your tastes are more dull-but-cost-the-earth-Khadi type, just take some paint and add two stripes to each side, in muted maroon and gold.

Not everyone in a mask need look like this. Not everyone in a mask need look like this. (Photo: YouTube)

Or, go the whole hog. Buy lace or zardozi that will go with your Diwali dress, ask your neighbourhood masterji to stich/stick them to your mask.

Remember, be yourself. Stand out in the herd of wheezing, sniffling humanity. Go to your sick bed in style.   


Yes, yes, the air is toxic. Yes, it’s been weeks since any of us took a deep breath. But Diwali is the time when the nose is freed of its solitary misery. The ears join in.

From every direction come the sounds of fire-crackers, car stereos, DJs, random musically-inclined humanity. There is so much chaos outside, it’s easy to drown out the disquiet within.

Don’t be that person who leans out of windows to yell at children and is promptly forced to retreat, spluttering. Embrace the noise. Invest in good-quality earmuffs.

Here, a few essentials have to be kept in mind.

Nothing a good apir of earmuffs can't take care of. Nothing a good pair of earmuffs can't take care of. (Photo: PTI)

Buy something that goes with your outfit and complements your skin tone. Pastels are in, but for the evening, you can go for something blingier. Make sure your earrings go with the earmuffs. Because they are globular, pair them with long, thin earrings (muffs on top of jhumkas will make you look like a temple door — resist that temptation). Your lipstick and eye shadow must match the earmuffs. After all, it’s the little things that matter. Bigger issues of noise pollution, global warming or harming animals can wait.

Air purifier      

Diwali, of all festivals, celebrates the indoors. More than meeting-greeting your loved ones, it’s about staying firmly within in the hope of Laxmi paying you a visit. Guest is God. Laxmiji is anyway Goddess. You can’t offer her polluted air.

This Dhanteras, buy an air purifier, if you haven’t already (why, though?).   

But the air purifier should blend in with the festive air. Write Om Shubh Labh on it with haldi. Draw a diya on it. Hang a genda phool mala around it.

Pepper spray

If you do step out, however, there are more tangible dangers. Every woman knows the uses of pepper spray. The air anyway has worse toxins, so wield that bottle without fear. But put it in a potli bag that matches your dress.

Imagine the effect — someone tries to rob/attack you, you whip out a dainty golden thing, and whoosh.

Carry the festive spirit, and pepper spray, with you. Carry the festive spirit, and the pepper spray, with you. (Photo: Twitter)

But fill the bottle with glitter and sparkles beforehand. Spread festive cheer — in more ways than one — even as you blind the pervert.  

Sturdy shoes

Walking out on Diwali is a hurdle race. There are half-exploded crackers to get burnt from, flowers to slip over. Blinded with the fuljhadi lights in your face, you anyway can’t see where you are walking.

So wear your sturdiest shoes. But still, put your best fashion foot forward.

Immerse your shoes in paint two days before Diwali. Throw glitter on them for good measure. Stick on sequins, mirrors, anything that you can tear of a cushion cover. Or, cut up your old saris and dupattas. Paste them on.

Keep festivity on, head to toe.

Pollution may ruin our health, habitat and planet. We will not let it ruin our festivals. Or our fashion.

Also read: How garlic can help shake off festive excesses


Yashee Yashee @yasheesingh

The writer is a journalist.

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