There are myriad ways to celebrate Diwali. So how does this queen of Indian comedy do it?
Kaneez Surka, improv star, TV personality and most recently, host of TataCLiQ.com’s 10/10 Sale Facebook Live event, pulls off this most traditional of celebration with a hipster ingenuity that’s fun, fun, fun. In an attempt to sneak off with a few ideas from her ultimate plan for a perfect celebration, we quiz her about her everything festive.
I could think of [several words to describe Diwali], but on the top of my mind are family, gifts and smiles…lots of them.
If celebration were a woman, she would be slightly chubby and round-faced, with the perfect glowing face, pink cheeks and thick hair. She wears bright colours, like red, and clunky jewellery that jingles. She laughs loudly and smiles broadly, and hugs everyone around. With all these features, she makes her warm presence felt and that’s how you know she (celebration’s) coming along.
On Party Planning
A good party is where everyone socialises. In 2007, I threw a Facebook-themed party, where the theme itself made for a great ice breaker. I decorated a wall to resemble the infamous ‘Facebook Wall’ as it was then, for people to write on. One room was called the Poke Room (take a guess why?), the main door was called Login, the bar was called Upload and the bathroom was called Download.
Each person also had their profile details stuck to their backs, which made it so much easier for everyone to talk to each other and enjoy the party. As you can imagine, I had no problem getting people to socialise… You can say I am quite the party planner.
On an Alternative to the Traditional Diwali Card Party
We played an interesting game called Werewolf last Diwali. It consisted of two killers, a game conductor and the rest played villagers. The aim was to catch the killers; the conductor instructs everyone when to close and open their eyes and together guess who the killers are, while the killers must wisely convince everyone they’re not. It’s good fun and gets more interesting with drinks.
Talking about drinks, drunk rangoli is a great game too. At some point, the Diwali celebration turns into a Holi party.
On Diwali party poopers…
I hate people who don’t dress up for the occasion. If it’s an Indian theme – or any theme – I’d really like if people made the effort to dress up.
…And Diwali Party Starters
My favourite people at a party are those who make my drinks, serve me food and organise the games – but that person is usually me, so I guess I like me at a party.
On Diwali Dressing
As you know I like playing by the theme so my staples for a festive celebration would be a cute pink kurti, a pair of kolhapuris and a bindi.
On Diwali Traditions
Where I grew up in Africa, there were just 20-30 Indian families in the community, but we all made sure we got together and celebrated, especially Diwali. There weren’t any Indian sweets or snacks available, so all the aunties would make them in their homes. I still remember the smell of those freshly-made sweets and chivda during that time. We would also put up a stage show, and everyone would participate in it.
In fact, these shows will always be very special to me. After all, it was the first time I went on stage. Once I went up with my dandiyas, but got scared and ran away, and yet I’d like to think that’s where I developed my love for the stage.
On what Kaneez wants this year in her Diwali gift box
I’d be really happy to find the new iPhone X in my Diwali gift box but a Kindle or an Instax Polaroid camera would be pretty cool to have too.