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The light of memories: A note from the editor

Finding harmony is the thought behind our Diwali special in a pandemic year

Earth sparkles from the ISS. Courtesy Scott Kelly/Nasa.
Earth sparkles from the ISS. Courtesy Scott Kelly/Nasa.

If it wasn’t for the pollution over most of north India, it might be possible to catch a glimpse of the International Space Station (ISS) streaking over Indian skies this month. It’s visible for a few minutes every day till the 18th—but if one lives in Delhi, with air purifiers running day and night, spotting the trees outside one’s window can be a feat. For those of us who won’t see the giant flying lab, Lounge has a piece this week to mark 20 years of life and science aboard the ISS, a place like no other, where thousands of experiments have helped shed light on Earth. Everything from recycling water to 3D printing of human organs to baking cookies has been, or is being, attempted on this outpost. It’s not just an engineering feat and a floating lab but also an experiment in diplomacy—countries often at loggerheads on Earth have managed to live and work in harmony, for humanity, in space.

Finding harmony was also the thought behind a Diwali special in a pandemic year—a year like no other, when every certainty seems to have dissipated, and we have become unexpectedly familiar with the homes we barely spent time in before. The Diwali special is something of a tradition at Lounge, and this year we focus on experiences and objects that draw on memories of past celebrations, while being mindful of the fact that visits to friends and family are likely to be few. Our story on Diwali’s savoury food traditions is a throwback to a time when cousins of all ages were drafted into the tasks of mixing, squishing, flattening and passing to make chaklis, murukkus and piles of crispy snacks. We are halfway through the festival season that runs to about mid-January, so we also have recommendations for ways to stay home, away from the virus, while creating memories.

Looking back while celebrating also comes to mind when listening to Lounge’s recommendations for the weekend—picks from singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen’s new album, Letter To You, as retro and American-centric as it is. Nostalgia, sentiment and cliché combine—but then that’s really what all memorable celebrations are about.

Write to the Lounge editor @shalinimb

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