On Monday 12 November, Capco’s BAME team held a special event to celebrate Diwali. Megha Bhatia recounts the evening's festivities....
The word ‘Diwali’ means a row of light, and is for many Hindus, Sikhs, Newar Buddhists and Jains, one of the most popular seasonal festivals. It falls every year between October and November and sees millions of people lighting candles at home, bursting crackers and fireworks, illuminating streets, temples, exchanging gifts, and most importantly, gathering with loved ones and sharing special meals.
Capco’s Be Yourself At Work (#BYAW) family went all out to re-create the same magic for the London office. Colleagues from all communities joined in to partake the festivities with joy and reflected on how our firm’s culture encourages and takes pride in its diversity to embrace all.
We were welcomed to the event with a mouth-watering spread of Indian food, and had our knowledge enhanced (or tested) by a short general knowledge quiz soon after. There were henna artists adorning ladies’ hands before we all got to give ourselves some soup for the soul! Two special guest speakers followed, Nikhil Pandar and Amandeep Singh, who each shared valuable lessons that we could derive from the events marking this festival and therefore apply in our own lives.
Nikhil Pandar, an ex-motorsport engineer, is now a monk and mindfulness coach. He shared why Diwali was celebrated based on the story of Lord Rama, and that we could imbibe the powerful messages of:
- Respecting lives of all sentient beings and value each other, irrespective of our differences and dissimilarities
- Going beyond our narrow selves, selfish interests and illuminating the path for others
- Constantly improving ourselves by spending time with people we looked up to and imbibing their qualities (without making them uncomfortable).
In closing, he encouraged everyone to take 30 minutes in the morning away from their phones, and use it to meditate, as well as keep a journal of things to be grateful for. This, he said, would set the tone for one’s day ahead.
When Amandeep Singh, our second guest speaker, is not practicing law, he fills his time by motivating young children and imparting life lessons from Sikhism.
He spoke to us about the historical event of Bandi Chhor (the release of captives) which coincided with the festival of Diwali, reminding people of the courage and greatness of a Sikh Guru who saved 52 lives. Beginning with a small breathing relaxation, Amandeep quoted a line from Sikh text that resonated with many in the room: ‘that though humans kept looking for happiness outside, it is inside that their true happiness resides’. He also drew attention to the innumerable things we can be grateful for, like our own heart that beats everyday non-stop, 24x7 for our entire life. A simple visualization exercise that he conducted lit up everyone’s faces with bright smiles.
Could such a celebration be complete without some music and dance? There was a surprise in store after these enlightening conversations. Our stage became a dance floor when Birmingham-based choreographer Rajvinder Mann performed a Punjabi dance, drawing a vibrant close to a perfect evening. And yes, we have some fun photos to prove it! I am already looking forward to the next year’s celebrations!