The eco-friendly flicker

The eco-friendly flicker

The eco-friendly flicker

The festive season is in full swing. Elaborate preparation of sweets, buying crackers off the shelves, eco-friendly campaigns and extensive shopping are rankling the atmosphere. This year, people are looking forward to celebrating the festival of lights by illuminating tradition.

Eco-friendly lamps are selling like hot cakes and these include not just the terracotta, earthen ‘diyas’ but also the ones that can be re-used such as metallic and marble lamps, and tea-light holders. Retail stores and ‘kirana’ shops are filled with earthen lamps and the price starts from Rs 50 and Rs 70.

Krupa, a resident of HSR Layout who is currently part of a campaign which promotes the use of eco-friendly crackers, is celebrating her Deepavali by lighting up her house with terracotta lamps. She says, “I am re-using my clay ‘diyas’ from last year. I don’t like using LED lamps or bulbs as they consume power. Though many feel that celebrating ‘Deepavali’ by using lamps is cumbersome and time-consuming, I feel that this is an enjoyable and traditional way of celebrating the festival.”  Organic tea-lights are another aspect of using eco-friendly lamps and Suman is avidly into making these moulds. She sells about 50 tea-light holders for Rs 350. She explains, “Tea-light are like ‘diyas’ on aluminium containers with bees wax. Manufacturing tea-light takes a lot of time as one has to clean it, triple filter, pour out the wax and create the wick too.”

An exhibition that is currently being held to promote Indian handloom and handicraft by Central Cottage Industries has seen about 17 per cent footfalls in the sale of terracotta lamps from last year. The ‘diyas’ are made by craftsman from the North and are sourced in Bengaluru. Inayath, one of the organisers, say, “We have about 40 customers walking in to buy traditional lamps for their homes and as gift packages. Students come with their families to buy ‘diyas’ and are slowly interested in eco-friendly ‘diyas’.” 

Kiran, the owner of ‘Raga Arts’, has a variety of eco-friendly lamps from terracotta, brass and bronze. The workers make lamps throughout the year for the season. Their terracotta lamps start from Rs 25 onwards and the price increases depending on their sizes and the colours they are coated with.

He says, “The labour cost has increased and the number of people who work on such traditional ‘diyas’ have reduced. This is one of our major challenges today. Availing clay is also a tough process. There is no clay available anymore because of soaring real estates, limited natural materials and encroachments. Labourers weaving, casting and working on terracotta ‘diyas’ are above the age of 40 and youngsters don’t want to do this kind of work.”

However, he says that people buy brass and bronze lamps as they find this more stable. He adds, “There has been a slight dip in the sale of earthen lamps from last year. However, it’s heartwarming to see youngsters buying eco-friendly lamps as opposed to cheap, machine made and use-and-throw lamps which have flooded the market. Professionals, who are away from their parents, wish to celebrate ‘Deepavali’ in a traditional mode and are interested in buying these lamps.”

The process of making an earthen ‘diya’ is also a time-consuming one. Shivani from Euthenia, a traditional store, explains that making ‘diyas’ from clay, moulding them into a traditional shape, letting them out to dry and then decorating them are the reasons for the increase in labour cost and earthen lamps.

“Cloth lamps and marble lamps are other eco-friendly options. Though they are expensive, youngsters are fond of these products for the smart finish and classic touch.”

Shivani says that Chinese lamps don’t last long as they are made from paper. “Though people buy these LED lamps just to save money, they are not really using an eco-friendly option.”

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