As he was graduating in commerce from Lucknow University, Sanjai Chandel had been diligently working on his dream to become a banker. The pursuit of a professional degree took him to the National Institute of Banking Management in Pune. As he began his professional career, Sanjay found himself in Chennai, a city he had never been to. His banker wife, Riddhi Chandra, had earlier lived in Patna and Guwahati. The two studied together at Pune and now live in Delhi NCR.

When they lived in Chennai, if there was one thing they missed about their growing up days, it was the celebration during the festival season. Their moms would make sure there were enough home-made sweets and munchies. Growing up, they would not miss these home-made sweets for anything. As the extended families would visit each other, Riddhi remembers everyone during the festival wearing new clothes.

Sanjay & Riddhi
The food binge would not end with the delicious sweets made at home. Relatives and friends coming home would also get more, adding to the wide array of options. If there was one thing that Riddhi and Sanjai missed, it was the pampering with sweets at home.

“We loved being in Chennai. While we did miss the festivals and celebrations, it is about adapting to the festivals of the place you are living in,” Sanjai says about their days in the city.

Rushil Kaul’s growing up years were very different. Thanks to several places his Army officer father was posted to, he had the opportunity to live in cities like Delhi, Ferozepur, Jabalpur, Amritsar, Mhow, Pune and Bangalore. Both his grandparents live in the capital and the family often spent their holidays with them.

Diwali for Rushil has been something that India is all about – the merging of different cultures that cannot be found anywhere else. Among the most amazing memories for him has been the Diwali badakhaana at Amritsar. It was like a family day for the entire unit at the station. There was fun, games, enough for kids to do and families to get involved with. The programme was spread through the day and the community lunch made it an unforgettable experience for everyone in attendance

“I do miss the fun and frolic of Delhi or North India during Diwali,” Rushil reminisces, explaining the celebrations in Mangaluru, Karnataka where he now lives, running a restaurant with his partner. “In Mangaluru, Diwali and Dussehra are not the most popular festivals. Diwali is quieter than what we have been used to.”

Rushil Kaul
The paths of Riddhi & Sanjay and Rushil may never have crossed but their professional and personal lives stand out because of one stark similarity. They have moved from one city to another, lived and worked in different cultures, a continuum millions of other working Indians can identify with. Young professionals crisscrossing cities and cultures to fulfill their professional aspirations is the norm for young India. They also miss being part of the festivals and food that they had grown up with.


Food is an essential part of the celebrations around most festivals across India. For Diwali, the traditional exchange of sweets that happens between families is a familiar sight in North India. In the eastern part of the country, where Dussehra is the dominant festival, coconut laddoos and some other sweets often made by moms are a part of every home.

Diwali is one of India’s most widely observed festivals and the celebrations around the festival vary in different parts of the country. It is this diversity of geographical location and style of celebration that is the subject of Coca-Cola’s new campaign for the season. The TVC tells the story of how the cultural divide between the people of North and South India was bridged because of Diwali celebrations.

During moments when you are not online or watching TV, Coca-Cola will still try to drive its message home. As the TVC wants people to appreciate and celebrate each other’s festivals, the boarding passes of flights going to different parts of the country will have details about Diwali on the back. If you have seen the TVC or come across the Facebook carousels, the effort to explain to people the way a festival is celebrated in different parts of the country will resonate even more.

This festival season, every moment you celebrate Diwali in any part of the country, when Ayushman Khurrana and Anupriya Goenka appear on screen, they could well be playing out the average Indian urban youth’s life story.