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Undoubtedly, Diwali is the most popular festival in India. Going by the sheer numbers who celebrate it, it's probably the biggest in all of South Asia. Such is our love for the five-day festival that our festivities usually begin a month before, around Navratri, and continue all season.
Of course the festival of lights is connected with dressing up our homes with diyas, dressing up our plates with Indian sweets and dressing ourselves so elaborately that we can seriously compete with The Great Indian Wedding even when there isn't one. Indian festivals are especially unique in this — our sense of festival fashion evolves entirely on its own might, away from runway diktats or high street trends.
It is deeply rooted in our cultural sensibilities so intensely that even the biggest European fashion houses — otherwise totally disconnected with Indian customs-celebrate Diwali with us.
It probably all began when Louis Vuitton dressed up its windows at its Champs Elysees store with Diwali lights two years ago. Other luxury labels decided to partake of the festivities too. British giant Burberry has released a collection of its signature trenches coats in a beautiful gold patina, and a selection of bags and shoes to match.
Tod's of Italy has brought out a truly spectacular Diwali D-bag. It's an opulently printed wonder that I'm told they have only two pieces of. How's that for limited edition?
Last week, I was a guest of Pinky Reddy in Hyderabad's longest dining table — at the Taj Falaknuma. The only thing that dared to take my attention away from the jaw-dropping beauty of the premises was the style quotient of the other women on Reddy's guest-list. Amala, Elahe Heptoolah, Vinita Pittie, Asmita Marwa and several other Hyderabadi women who personified the idea of celebration. "Of course," said a friend next to me, "Hyderabadis are the Punjabis of the South." Almost each lady wore a Sabyasachi sari (including the hostess), a jewellery set that I'd only wear to a family wedding, and fresh flowers in the hair.