Diwali is over, but the spirit of the festival of lights refuses to die down in Ahmedabad as many residents are enjoying an extended Diwali break that stretches till Sunday. Vishwa Anadkat, a financial analyst, says that a week before they went for the Diwali break, people in her office were already in the mood to party. “The productivity levels went down. We threw office parties, organised some competitions and exchanged gifts,” says Vishwa. Even though everyone was supposed to join back from Wednesday, many have extended their vacation. “I am home with my family and will rejoin office from Monday. As of now, only half of the office is operational,” Vishwa says.
However, Vishwa’s friends working in other cities don’t have this privilege. “One of my friends working in Delhi was just given the weekend off. The same happened with the friend living in Mumbai. I guess the bigger the city is, the lesser is the impact of festivities,” she adds.
Minoo Dhariwal, a 26-year-old Delhi girl, says the culture of having a week-long Diwali break doesn’t exist in bigger cities like Delhi and Mumbai. “I worked in Delhi for two years. We were given just two days off. Here, even though we all have come to office, most of our clients are on a break. So as such we don’t have much work. The real work will start from next week,” says Minoo.
Twenty-six year old Anusha Kabra, who works with an ad agency, is enjoying her Diwali break. “We are officially closed till Sunday. We are usually functioning if our client is working. Sometimes, we don’t get an off on public holidays. So, we club them with our Diwali break,” says Anusha.
After working in Ahmedabad for quite some time, Sanjay Chakraborty, assistant vice-president of an advertising agency, feels that this is the right time to stay back in Ahmedabad. “On other days, the roads are jammed and restaurants are crowded. Since most leave the city during the break, you can enjoy the empty roads and less-crowded eateries,” says Sanjay, who hails from Udaipur. Sanjay, who has worked in cities like Baroda and Rajkot before, says that Ahmedabad is the only place where the Diwali celebrations are so elaborate. “Baroda is a cosmopolitan city. You won’t find much celebration there,” he says.
However, there are some who are not too keen to take longer breaks. Twenty-two year old Rahul Jain has been living in the city for the last six years. Recently, he started his own clothing business. “Employees start getting demanding during the festive season,” says Rahul.
Twenty-five year old Erica Gonsalves moved to Ahmedabad from Bhavnagar six years back for better career prospects. Currently on the lookout for a new job, Erica, a financial analyst, feels that such extended Diwali breaks make you lazy. “It disturbs your entire routine as after 1-2 days you start realising that you have targets to meet. Then, you take time to adjust back,” she says.
Pratik Mahavar, a senior marketing manager in a public sector company, doesn’t like the Diwali celebrations in Ahmedabad. “Here, people take a break from work which doesn’t happen in Jaipur, my native place,” says Mahavar. Ranjit George, who has his own business of surveillance equipments, says the long breaks backfire once you return to work. “As much as I enjoy spending time with family, I feel such long breaks are not required. There is more impending work after that, especially when you deal with clients who are on leave themselves,” says Ranjit.
Published by The Indian Express Ahmedabad (Late City edition) on November 8, 2013.