Along with our parent company, Yum! Brands, we believe that having an inclusive and diverse culture is imperative in today’s world. We are a global company with diverse employees, customers and franchisees, and maintain an unwavering commitment to promoting a company culture where all people are valued and respected.
From YES! National Coming Out Day, to International Day of the Girl and more, every year Global Diversity Awareness Month shows us just how much our diverse culture creates progress and innovation within our organization.
That’s why we’re thrilled to continue broadening the awareness and celebration of our differences with a special Diwali spotlight, featuring three employees across KFC Global and KFC India: Vinod Mahboobani, Suchitra Kamath, and Mamta Chawla.
What does Diwali mean to you?
Vinod: It means lighting up my homes with diyas (candles), offering prayers to the Goddess of Prosperity and Wealth and catching up with friends to celebrate together.
Suchitra: Triumph of good over evil and that there is light after darkness is the significance of this festival. For me it also is a period to reflect on the positive aspects in the year gone by and hope for more positivity, good health, and happiness in the year ahead for my family, friends, and myself.
Mamta: Diwali to me means a time to celebrate the festival with lights, gets togethers and gifts. It is one time of the year where the whole week feels festive.
How do you personally recognize or celebrate this holiday? Any family traditions?
Vinod: Offering prayers to Goddess Lakshmi (Prosperity and Wealth) and doing it via Zoom with our two daughters in London and the East Coast.
Suchitra: I am a Konkani speaking Gowda Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) and some among the GSB community (for eg. my family) celebrate the first day of Diwali with seafood preparations for dinner after a warm oil bath. This unique tradition has been followed by Konkanis living along the coastal regions from Goa to Kerala for ages. We have two more days of celebrations for Naraka Chaturdashi (day 2) and Laxmi Puja (day 3) which is the ultimate day of Deepavali. We offer special prayers to all our religious deities on these days - Lord Ganesh, Goddess Laxmi, and a host of others - and clay oil lamps are lit both inside and outside our homes. We follow an extremely pure vegetarian diet on these two days, which excludes onion and garlic.
Mamta: Usually Diwali celebrations start a week ahead of Diwali where we have family and friends get together to eat and play cards. There are a lot of gifts exchanges, some of which are even handmade. The home is decorated with fairy lights and motifs. On Diwali day, Rangoli is made at the entrance with flowers and colors. The tradition says decorating the home with Rangoli brings Goddess Lakshmi to one’s home. During the evening, Puja is done at home with family members and diyas are lighted. Sweets are distributed to everyone.
How does KFC’s culture enable you to bring your unique spice to work and have fun, especially during this time?
Vinod: KFC's culture of “Always Original” allows us to openly share our customs and traditions.
Suchitra: I love that our organization is supporting of everyone's religious beliefs and rituals and makes an effort to learn about them, while encouraging people to share about it (just like this initiative and others this year). It makes me comfortable to be myself and talk about my culture and for [KFC] to understand the significance to me and others like me.
Mamta: During non-COVID times, Diwali celebration meant family day, where we all got together in traditional clothes to enjoy the festival with office colleagues and their families.