After my favourite critic told me that last year’s Diwali issue looked just like a shopping catalogue, I was determined that this year’s special issue would go beyond

Bright spark: A student at Mumbai’s Door Step School. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint

Others who influenced this issue? Barack Obama, who believes that any long-term economic plan must invest in children and the youth; and the recently released Global Hunger Index, which said that nearly half our children are malnourished.

Deputy features editor Seema Chowdhry, who anchored the issue, has ensured that this week’s Lounge is something you’ll hang on to long after the weekend is over. In addition to providing you with innumerable options to spend your time and money wisely, it’s also got that key emotional blackmail kick that is bound to make you do something. I know it had that effect on me.

Actually, since we started work on the issue, I’ve noticed that lots of people work hard to help our children. Indian companies — even banks — always make an extra effort during Diwali. HSBC, for instance, says it supports 111 projects across 37 countries and touches the lives of 115,767 children. In India, the bank supports 19 projects.

Of course, excluding the retail industry entirely at a time like this wouldn’t have been fair. After all Diwali is make-or-break time for many small businesses. So we went shopping too. Enjoy the issue, be a gifter and a giver.

Write to lounge@livemint.com

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