“Students there is a notice for you all. I’m writing it on the board; you please copy it in your almanac” Arts and craft teacher of class four, Mrs Sharma said.
Deepa wrote down – It is hereby notified that all students have to bring one or more earthen lamp to decorate it on the day before Diwali. Please bring pastel colours, brush, and things to decorate.
She went back home and immediately ran to the dining room to show the notice to her mother. Deepa’s mother, Shova was preparing the table for lunch. She was about to scold Deepa for bringing the diary here but seeing her worried face she took the almanac and read the notice. After reading she said “This is a notice from your Arts teacher. You could have shown it to me afterwards. Go and get fresh and then come here for lunch”
“But Mom, where will I get earthen lamps?”
“Don’t worry dear. I’ll buy them for you from the market”
The cock crowed on top of its voice sitting on the mud wall. Heena woke up as usual and went outside. Her father Bansiram was busy making diyas for the upcoming diwali, festival of lights. Heena loved to see the small earthen lamps placed in a row to be dried in the sun. She sat beside them and picked one up. The lamp hasn’t dried and so isn’t hard enough. Her father saw her attempt to pick up the damp lamp and said “Heena dear don’t ever try to pick them up now. They will break”
Heena said “I won’t bapu but can I try and help you in making some”
“I feel today you should watch how diyas are made. Later you can try to do some” Heena readily sat beside her father and saw how he made them with the help of the wheel. It was a long process but she felt her father was clever enough to separate the shaped lamp from the clay mound. So neatly he separated them and laid them one by one on the wooden board.
“You should go and help your mother to dry these lamps in the hearth” and pointed to her mother carrying the sun dried lamps. She asked, “Why do we do this?”
“To make them strong” her father replied.
Heena helped her mother by carrying trays of lamps to the kiln. Ma said she will bring them out after some time. After helping her mother she got ready to go to school. The moment she stepped outside she found her friends too coming with their school bags. They smiled at her and she too smiled in response. Then they walked towards the school. After school, she readily returned home talking the whole way about the lamps made by her father. After lunch, she asked her mother when the strong lamps would be taken out of the kiln. Her mother asked her to be patient.
Heena was very happy when she saw the strong lamps the next day. Her father was again preparing the clay to turn them into lamps. She again went with the intention of helping. He said to Heena “It would be better if you colour those dried lamps kept there”
“How will I colour those?”
Her mother said “Come here, dear. I’ll show you how to”
Heena loved to draw pictures so she coloured the lamps in vibrant shades. Both her parents praised her for the bright lamps.
After a week Heena was very excited to find piles of colourful earthen lamps in their home. Now the time has come to sell them in the market. Few shopkeepers came to her father and bought as per requirement but at the end of the day, her father said not much could be earned by selling them. Both her father and mother were worried.
Bansiram decided to sell them directly to customers. He filled a basket with lamps and walked towards the city market. She requested her father to take her along with him. Her father agreed and both walked towards the market. After reaching the market Heena saw beautiful electric lights and candles and could guess that their earthen lamps have to compete with these ones.
She too tried to woo the customers in buying these lamps like her father and called out “Come and buy these lamps to decorate your house this Diwali. Goddess Laxmi will shower her blessings on you and your family”
Deepa reminded her mother about the Diwali project on the day before the programme. She was worried thinking whether she will get the required lamp or not. They both walked towards the market. At the entrance of the market, Deepa saw Heena and her father selling earthen lamps. She pulled her mother’s hand to show her the girl selling lamps. She said “Mom can we buy lamps from her?”
Shova said “Yes, dear” and both went near her. Heena saw the mother-daughter duo and raised her voice “Come and buy these lamps to decorate your house this diwali”
Deepa and her mother went to see the earthen lamps. Deepa was delighted seeing the colourful lamps. She exclaimed “Wow! The lamps are so beautiful. I can’t make a choice which one to take”
Heena heard her customer’s words and asked “How many lamps do you wish to take Ms”
“Yeah I need one for my school project but I wish I could buy lots of them to decorate my home”
Shova looked at her daughter and then said “But dear we decorate our house with colourful electric lamps”
“But Mom can’t we change the trend this time decorating our house with these lovely lamps?” argued Deepa. Her mother thought for a while and then said “Ok I agree with your wish. We will buy these lamps to decorate our house this Diwali”
Heena was happy. She packed the required number of lamps for them. Deepa’s mom paid the price to Heena’s father. She said to her father “Bapu, at last, some of our lamps got sold” Her father answered “Yes dear, but there’s a lot more left in our home and if those don’t get sold it will be a total loss”
Deepa heard their conversation and thought something must be done to help them. The next day she took a lamp to her school for the project. Every other student of the class too had brought lamps but everyone said Deepa’s lamp was just lovely. Then she said from where she had bought it and also added that she had bought lots of those earthen lamps to decorate their home this diwali. Her classmates said they too will ask their parents to buy those attractive lamps to beautify their homes.
Heena was happy. This year most of their lamps had got sold. Bairam said “The credit of good sale goes to her as she had ornamented the lamps beautifully. She decorated their hut with the left lamps and prayed to God “God please shower your blessings on every one of us so that we can celebrate such a beautiful festival wholeheartedly”