Rangoli is the art of decorating the house entrance for Diwali with colors and lights. The decorations welcome gods and guests alike. Sunita Nair´s message this year is ‘happiness’.

Festivals of Light: Diwali and Christmas

In India, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to pressure on the economy. After several extensive lockdowns, India’s federal states are now imposing different restrictions based on the number of cases. Mumbai-based LANXESS employee Sunita Nair describes why November’s Diwali festival was a celebration of joy for her and her family. And what similarities she sees to Christmas.

“For me, Diwali is not just a festival – it’s a symbolic victory of light over darkness. I value the commitment and courage of our Covid-19 Frontline Warriors who are risking their lives for the safety of all of us. They are the true heroes of our society and I am grateful for their hard work and selflessness."

Sunita Nair
Senior Analyst Portal Solution, LANXESS India, Mumbai

Lockdown lifted in time for Diwali

Software engineer Sunita Nair is a Senior Analyst for portal solutions at LANXESS in Mumbai, a 20-million strong megacity situated in the state of Maharashtra in western India. On March 24, the Indian government imposed a nationwide lockdown on its 1.3 billion inhabitants. With the lifting of the lockdown in early June, different restrictions applied depending on the region. Despite relatively high infection rates, the priority is now to lessen the impact of the lockdown – production stoppages and layoffs – on the economy. Luckily, Sunita was able to celebrate the Festival of Light with her family. Diwali is an important Indian festival and lasts several days.

Shopping and celebrating

On “Dhanteras,” which is the first day of Diwali, people go shopping, since they believe it’s an auspicious day for making purchases. The second day is called “Naraka Chaturdashi.” Like Christmas, it is celebrated by meeting friends and family and exchanging gifts.

Sunita kept Diwali simple this year. “Nevertheless, it was full of excitement and happiness”, she says. “A festival of lights, Diwali brings joy to everyone’s face. This year’s monsoon brought cheers and a better than expected harvest, making Diwali even more joyful.”

Staying in touch the virtual way

Sunita took time to accept the hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. She connects with her family using Zoom and WhatsApp, even during the holidays, and gives as well as receives digital gift cards. She uses online stores to order real-life gifts for her friends and family. “I still miss face-to-face contact,” she says, “but I am confident that that too will change soon”.

Making the best of it with young and old alike

This year has been very bad for the children and the elderly, Sunita says. Her daughter was disappointed that she could not play with her friends at the playground. But Sunita and her daughter were able to spend time together building Lego houses and painting. Online lessons and get-togethers were also a great help.

Adapting to COVID-19

Sunita is pleased that LANXESS has taken swift action to protect its workforce. “This year has helped me to understand how crises can affect us in our professional and private lives,” the 34-year-old says. “Even though we were shocked by COVID, the key is in being able to adapt to changing situations. Rethink, act quickly and find solutions!“

“I wish and hope that the New Year brings us lots of new and positive energy as well as the promise of a bright future for us all.”

Sunita Nair
Senior Analyst Portal Solution, LANXESS India, Mumbai

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