WALLPAPER: Diwali 2013/2070

Vijay Shah (writing/editing/images)

Anjali Shah (images/contribution)

To celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, this coming November, the Half-Eaten Mind is unveiling not one, but two special created images to celebrate the festive season – one produced by me and the other made by my youngest sister Anjali, who very much initiated me into the hallowed ways of online image design. With just over a week left until the big day to go, we spent last night simultaneously working on these commemorative images using our old favourite, piZap. There was plenty of coordination and correspondence via email and Twitter. Because when we celebrate, we celebrate in (graphical) style!!

(c) A. Shah/piZap
(c) A. Shah/piZap

Anji has produced this festive fun montage which I think captures the spirit of one of our greatest festivals perfectly. She has achieved a good balance between Diwali’s spiritual roots and the joy and light that forms part of its related celebrations the world over. On the religious side of things we first have the “Aum” symbol”. Aum is the symbol of Hinduism and identifies our faith in the same way that the cross represents Christianity or the star and moon do it for Islam. It is the first sound that appeared after Lord Brahma created the universe. It is used to begin our prayers in Hinduism, and even western practitioners of yoga and meditation have realised the peaceful transcendence and tranquility that repeated chanting of “Aum” places in their hearts and infuses through their minds. There is also a swastika using a traditional Indian design. Please note that this symbol is not intended to have any overtones of Nazism. In Hindu communities, the swastika is a symbol of prosperity and goodness, and was appropriated by the Nazis who reversed its position and turned it into a symbol of evil.

Also we have a image of Lord Ganesh, also called Ganpati Dada in Gujarat. God in this form blesses the beginnings of all new years and beginnings generally. He is the remover of obstacles and blesses devotees during this joyous occasion.

On the cultural side Anjali has included scenes representing a perfect Diwali celebration. The lamps are an important fixture of events in temples, businesses and homes across the Hindu world. Known as ‘diya’ in Hindi and ‘deevo’ in Gujarati, these often ornate candles have an important religious significance and in fact lend their name to the festival. Diwali, or Deepavali, literally means “festival of lights”.

Anji also has included a delectable selection of sweets (mithai) which are offered to family and guests who come around your home. Interestingly the sweets are arranged in a ‘thali’ (dish or platter) that looks very much like a ‘diya’!! 

This image works so well because firstly it makes me nostalgic for my childhood Diwalis . As I look at this picture I am reminded of the glowing warmth of the many flickering diyas and candles placed around my old family home on a dark cloudy autumn morning. The lights become even more beautiful at night, with fireworks exploding on a thousand bright colours across the night sky. Anjali’s montage is very busy visually/content-wise which reminds me of the frantic hunting for suitable presents and trinkets in the run-up to Diwali and the New Year, as well as the stalls  I used to visit in Upton Park with their “hard-to-choose” displays of greetings cards, diyas, incense sticks, and other Deepavali goodies. 

I am going to be using this image as the official festive wallpaper for both my personal and blog Twitter accounts. I am really proud and grateful towards Anjali for taking the time out to create this image and she cordially wishes all the blog’s readers a Happy Diwali full of peace, prosperity and joy.

(c) V. Shah/piZap et al.
(c) V. Shah/piZap et al.

My image was made with the blog in mind and features a solemnly powerful image of a single lamp set in a rangoli pattern made with coloured powders, which is an activity done by people at their homes especially in India. I used Creative Commons search and found this image on Flickr, a popular photo-sharing site. The original image was created by Abhinaba Basu and was available under a free licence. I then added an image of Lords Ganesh and Lakshmi Devi which I had more-or-less cut and pasted from a online Diwali e-greeting card, of which you can find tonnes online. I added a special background filter to give the image more vibrancy in colour and wrote the text in three different fonts, partly to tie in with the new header image I recently installed on the main body of the blog, and partly to reflect the kindness of the message. Then throw in some pinpricks of light to make things look even more festive. The image did not take that long to make. Indeed I spent more time fine-tuning it than I did actually putting the individual components together. Our mascot Woodsey the Owl also gets a special mention, because no HEM celebration now is complete without our conifer-loving friend. 

My plans for this image is to transform it into the background for the Half-Eaten Mind site during the Diwali season.

I really hope you have enjoyed taking a peek at these images.

Here’s a quick Diwali story which explains how this enchanting festival kicked off…

Once upon a time there was a great warrior, Prince Rama, who had a beautiful wife named Sita.

There was also a terrible demon king, Ravana. He had twenty arms and ten heads, and was feared throughout the land. He wanted to make Sita his wife, and one day he kidnapped her and took her away in his chariot. Clever Sita left a trail of her jewellery for Rama to follow.

Rama followed the trail of glittering jewellery until he met the monkey king, Hanuman, who became his friend and agreed to help find Sita. Messages were sent to all the monkeys in the world, and through them to all the bears, who set out to find Sita.

After a very long search, Hanuman found Sita imprisoned on an island. Rama’s army of monkeys and bears couldn’t reach the island, so they began to build a bridge. Soon all the animals of the world, large and small, came to help. When the bridge was built, they rushed across it and fought a mighty battle.

When Rama killed the evil Ravana with a magic arrow, the whole world rejoiced. Rama and Sita began their long journey back to their land, and everybody lit oil lamps to guide them on their way and welcome them back.

Ever since, people light lamps at Diwali to remember that light triumphs over dark and good triumphs over evil.

(Reproduced courtesy of Activity Village)

The Half Eaten Mind wishes you and yours a truly wonderful and prosperous Diwali, and even if you aren’t celebrating, we wish you a day full of happiness, merriment and good vibes.

……:::—+{{{@HAPPY DIWALI##SHUBH DIWALI – 2013 CE/2070 VS. @}}}+—:::…..

(c) Ben707.co.cc


“The Story of Diwali” – Activity Village/Small Publishing LINK
IMAGE CREDITS (Vijay’s image) :
“Diwali 2009” – Abhinaba Basu (abhinaba) at Flickr LINK
“Maa Laxmi On Diwali Greeting Cards” – greet2k.com LINK
piZap LINK
“Picture Comments – Happy Deepavali” – BeN707 Grafix/Benedic Doray/Ben707.co.cc (30 September 2009) LINK

9 thoughts on “WALLPAPER: Diwali 2013/2070

  1. Wicked article 😀 So colourful! Thanks for including my pic and i love the colourful gif/image thing you included at the end 🙂 Also the story of why we celebrate Diwali 😀 Well done!!! xx


  2. Awww…Festival of Lights…may your life be filled with brightness that leads you to all the correct paths!!

    Thank you for sharing and do have a wonderful weekend ahead, always~ Cheers!! 😀


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