Actress Daisy Shah has been vocal about environmental issues and animal issues quite a lot. During the festival of Diwali, she speaks to Outlook about how people can have a pet-friendly festival and also help to save the environment by saying no to crackers. Excerpts from the short conversation:
It is Diwali time. What's your fondest memory of this festival?
So when we were kids, mom and dad used to take us, me and my sister to Nani's place to celebrate Diwali. So what used to happen is that everybody, all the kids of our age, used to come together just during this one festival. And we had a blast every time we went there. That's also because, after living in a cosmopolitan city, all your life, you actually go and celebrate the simple village life. I think that is the essence of your life. You need to experience that because the minute you grow up, the minute you start understanding life, the minute you start understanding things, judgement is one thing that easily comes to everybody. So I think that that pure innocence that we had at that point of time in our age, is something that I really cherish. Yeah, we had an amazing time with that simple food, simple life, simplest and the littlest of the things in your life that made you happy.
What are the plans for this year's celebration?
This year, we are actually planning to go out for Diwali. So yeah, it's probably a family vacation.
As you're a lover of animals, what do you feel people should do to have an animal-friendly Diwali celebration?
I think, bursting crackers is something that we should avoid as much as possible. That's because we understand. I don't know about everybody, but people who love animals, will understand that animal's hearing capacity is like a hundred times, a thousand times, much, much, much more than what a human has. And it really trembles them and it really scares them. A lot of birds die because of just the mere sound of that cracker. And one thing that the pandemic has taught us, or one thing that we should all learn from this pandemic is that co-existing is something we should really accept. And as much as we think that planet Earth is ours as humans, it is actually everybody's. Be it animals, birds, mammals - it's everybody's, like even plants.
Many people just feel that there is no Diwali without bursting loud crackers. What would be your message to them?
Yeah, actually, I have heard, from a lot of people saying that if we don't burst crackers on Diwali then what is the fun. But you know what? Everything seems difficult until you try it. Okay, let me just put it this way, the biggest giveaway that we have had from the last two years is that we thought that we cannot sit home. We thought that running in your life to chase tomorrow was a way of living. But the last two years taught us that what are we running for? Tomorrow? Tomorrow is never promised. In fact, tomorrow never comes because all you have is now. It's just that you need to show compassion towards everything in your life, every person that comes into your life, every animal that comes into your life. We really forget that how blessed we all are. I mean, if we give it a thought as to how grateful we are to the universe, that it actually provides us oxygen. Now by the universe, in this context, I mean the plants and what are we doing? We're cutting them off just to make a concrete jungle bigger and bigger and bigger. I wouldn't use the word better here. There are so many things to say, but it's just that everything has a chain reaction. So any good you do will be followed by good, but anything bad you do will be followed by bad. The choice is yours.