'It's hard being away from family during Deepavali'

'It's hard being away from family during Deepavali'
While waiting for his friends, MrAnand Atti Gadda walks around Tiong Bahru Plaza to shop for new clothes for Deepavali.

There are those who like to party to usher in a holiday.

Others, however, prefer a night of quiet reflection.

On Tuesday night, revellers ushered in Deepavali at an open-air concert.

Unlike the many migrant workers who attended the concert, Indian national Anand Atti Gadda, 33, told The New Paper he preferred to stay away from the crowds this year.

Instead, he celebrated the arrival of Deepavali at his dormitory at Alexandra Road with his friends.

"I like being in Little India because it's a central place to meet my friends, but this year, we decided to spend time there only on Deepavali day because it is too crowded on the eve," said the construction worker who works at a site in Sengkang.

"I don't mind not going, but I also think being around friends is just as important for this holiday."

NEW CLOTHES

Mr Anand, who is from Bangalore in southern India, came here to work two years ago.

When TNP met him on Tuesday afternoon, he was window-shopping at Tiong Bahru Plaza.

"I've already done my shopping at Little India. Last week, I spent $30 on new clothes, so I am happy," said the father of a 13-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl with a smile.

"But I was given a half-day off work, so I am walking around while waiting for my friends to finish work before we have dinner and drinks near our dorm."

That night, Mr Anand and his friends squeezed in quick phone calls to family members. Others surfed the Internet on their mobile phones or laptops in the dorms.

"It's hard not having your family around during Deepavali, but they are just a phone call away," he smiled, pointing to his mobile phone.

On Deepavali morning, Mr Anand and his friends headed to a temple in Little India.

The group then adjourned to the popular Tekka Market to spend time with other friends.

Mr Anand said: "I have already sent money home to my family, so I will spend whatever money I have left on food and drinks with my friends."

Last week, he remitted home $500 out of his $750 monthly salary to help pay for his family's Deepavali preparations.

Mr Anand also spent another $500 to buy a second-hand laptop for his eldest son. The money came from his savings.

"My boy has been asking for it, so I couldn't say no," he said proudly.

zothman@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 23, 2014.
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