K UALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 — For the past five years, expatriate Siva Prasad Siddani, who hails from Hyderabad, India, has been celebrating Deepavali in Malaysia.
Siddani said although he misses home, he enjoys the festive vibe in Malaysia.
“In India, Deepavali is more focused on small scale family gatherings so I am amazed to see such large scale celebrations in Malaysia that are open to the public,” said the 38-year-old software engineer.
Accompanied by his wife, Vijaya Lakshmi, 34, and their children, Sumana, seven and Sloka, one, Siddani said they were pleasantly surprised to see the event graced by Malaysians from all walks of life.
“My wife and I were so surprised to see Muslim women in hijab and sari at this event. It is amazing! You would almost never see people from other religions celebrating a Hindu festival in India,” he added, when met at Little India in Brickfields.
Babu Raja, a film producer from India, said it is his first year celebrating Deepavali away from home.
“This year I am in Malaysia on a business trip to promote my movie,” he said.
Though missing his family, the 48-year-old from Chennai is excited to experience celebrating the festival with a few business partners here.
Impressed by the scale of celebration that happens in Malaysia, Babu said he is proud to see the Indian tradition and culture being embraced by people of other races and religion.
“It is heartwarming to see so many Chinese, Malays and Caucasians here celebrating Deepavali with the Indians and it is definitely an honour to share our festival with them,” he said.
Looking graceful in a turquoise and gold sari, Joanna Tan never misses the yearly Deepavali celebrations.
“This is my first time attending an open house but every year I would definitely visit my Indian friends and celebrate with them,” said the sales manager from Kedah.
Tan said she fell in love with traditional Indian wear when she took part in a beauty pageant a few years ago.
“I first bought a Bollywood dance outfit and performed at the talent segment of a beauty pageant, and somehow ended up buying a sari as well because I fell in love with the colours,” she said.
Indonesian Denhas Ina, 27, also turned up for the open house in Little India.
“I was walking to the KL Sentral KTM station and happened to walk past here, so I decided to see what it is about,” he said.
Giving the thumbs up, he added: “This is my first time trying Indian food and I am definitely going back for seconds.”