Indore : Celebrating Diwali and Dhanteras with their Russian guests, host families are helping them experience most of Indian culture, spices, shopping and food.
While Dhanteras has often been connected with ‘Dhan’, i.e. wealth, these families concentrated on worshipping Dhanvantari. Though, it is traditional for people to buy gold and jewels, Dhanvantari is provider of good health, rather than wealth.
Bringing their guests closer to Indian customs and traditions, host families explained importance of Diwali festivities, joint families and traditions to the students.
Experiencing family traditions
Bagga family’s experience with Anna Kiptik is a blend of partying and lessons. While Anna is learning about Indian culture, traditions and customs, Bagga family is noting down some lessons on disciplined lifestyle.
Talking about their experience, businessman Rajdeep Bagga said, “We have been able to involve her in our family’s traditions and help her experience Indian lifestyle.” He explained that quotes of ‘shub labh’ and handicrafts are common in India, which amazed her. Sharing her experience, homemaker Upinder said, “We took her to a wedding and threw a party for her friends, which has made her experience fun.” She had shared her ethnic dress with Anna.
language not a barrier
Engaging Russian student Evgenilia Levina in Indian customs and traditions, Bais family is making Diwali festivities grand at their house. Talking about her experience, host mother architect Pallavi Bais said, “Though, I feel that she not much interested in traditions, I can see that Indian spices, food and dresses are catching her attention.” Due to language barrier, the family is able to communicate with Evgenilia only through translation app.
While communication is must for building relations as adults, kids do not need to sit and talk to make friends, they just bond with everyone. Sharing his feelings, 7-year-old Nidansh said, “I like Evgenilia didi, she is sweet and charming.” His curiosity about her has helped him learn about her. “She knows how to make her bed and keep things properly, which even my sister does not,” he added.
Making her dreams come true
With two daughters in the family, Garg family’s home has been more of friends hanging out together.
Sharing her feelings, homemaker Anju Garg said, “It is like having Anshika’s friend over all the time.” She explained that Anshika and Ektarina spend all the time together. “Both are finding ways to communicate by learning each other’s language,” she added.
Talking about her new friend, Anshika said, “Ektarina’s childhood dream was to visit India.” She added that they are trying to make her experience as beautiful as her dream.
Russian lifestyle closest to Indian
With cooking lessons, beautiful rangolis and love for sweets, Singh family has closely bonded with Maria Ulianova. The family has hosted five exchange students from France, Italy, USA, Germany, and Belgium before as well.
Talking about their experience, host mother Deepti Singh said, “I feel that Russian lifestyle and families are closest to Indian culture, compared to other countries.” She explained that Maria, like most Indian children, is closely bonded with her family and especially grandparents. “I had noticed that most international students never speak about their grandparents and even avoid talking about their parents,” she added.
Talking about the festivities, student Himadri shared, “Maria is very punctual, which is inspiring.” She wished to be as disciplined as Maria.
Patience is her virtue
Enjoying the festival season with large variety of sweets dishes, Mundra family is bonding well with Ektarina Voronnina. Though, they face communication barrier, their love for food helps them connect and discover each other’s choices.
Talking about the lessons learnt from their experience, industrialist Vijay Mundra said, “Voronnina is very patient, which is something I want to learn and adapt in my life.” He explained that Voronnina considers pros and cons of every decision and does not rush into anything. “I was amazed to see that she does not immediately buy anything because it is being offered at a reasonable price,” he added.