3 Clever gifts for Diwali from South Asian small businesses

Malai Ice Cream and Cakes Diwali 2020

We've got you covered for your South Asian dessert, mehendi decor, & print art needs this Diwali.

By Janvi Sai, Contributor

In my household, the set-up for Diwali is nothing short of euphoric. We stay up to handmake garlands with vibrant marigold flowers, light clay diya lamps around every nook and cranny of our home, dress up in Desi attire, and create rangoli sand art (which is always painful to witness be washed away). 

After spending so much time suppressing my identity, I decided as a teenager to begin viewing Diwali as a way to explore and appreciate my heritage and traditions. 

I’m glad I made that choice. 

This year Diwali might look different, but nonetheless, the sense of community it fosters can still be found in warm sharing and gift-giving. Here are 3 U.S. based, small and innovative South Asian-owned businesses keeping the spirit of the festival alive while also spicing it up. 

1. To entertain nostalgia, adventure, & sweet tooth cravings all at once, look no further than Malai Ice Cream & Cakes

Malai Co. ice cream and cake
photo credit: Morgan Ione

This Brooklyn-based ice cream shop is shipping their Diwali Ice Cream Celebration Pack nationwide. Their shareable collection of gulab jamun and carrot halwa ice cream cakes, Parle-G and masala chai ice cream sandwiches, and a pint of ghughra flavored ice cream will be memorable to friends and family, and silence backhanded remarks from aunties. Their gulab jamun ice cream cake is my new Diwali staple. Check out Malai's Instagram page here. 

2. Celebrate the elegant & earthy nuances of South Asian art & culture with Henna By Nyx’s Desi Coaster Collection

Henna by Nyx henna coasters
photo credit: Henna By Nyx

Nikita Sankar is an LA and Bay Area based henna artist and enthusiast. As an artist, she "loves to push the boundaries of art, playing with the fine lines between traditional and contemporary designs." You can rest your chai, lassis, and falooda (if you can!) on these eye-catching and inventive reimaginings of mehendi/henna traditions and useful decor for $32. Browse Henna By Nyx's Instagram page here. 

3. Blow your loved ones' minds with ethereal illustrations from artist Naina Hussain 

Naina Hussain pink architecture and tiger art work
photo credit: Naina Hussain

Naina Hussain’s art depicts a vast amount of subjects ranging from pop culture and high fashion to icons and spaces, which can also be found on the artist’s Instagram page and in many issues of The Juggernaut. Her etsy shop By Naina offers stunning prints around $30 and custom illustrations around $100, many of which are of pets!

Cover Photo Credit: Morgan Ione for Malai Ice Cream & Cakes


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