There’s the Elf on the Shelf for Christmas and the Mensch on a Bench for Hanukkah, but David Euler, an acupuncturist who previously worked at Harvard Medical School, felt like something was missing for his multi-cultural family.
His kids, now 7 and 9, loved the Elf on the Shelf and the Mensch on the Bench, he said. Euler is Jewish and his wife is Hindu, and once when playing with his kids around the holidays, he thought, “Hey wait a minute, something is missing in this picture here, how about a Hindu version?”
So he made one himself, called The Hindu on the Bindu, as a way for his kids to have a similarly holiday-themed book-and-doll combo for Diwali, the annual Hindu festival of light.
“Diwali is huge and colorful. It’s full of stories about light that beats the darkness, the same way as Christmas and Hanukkah,” Euler said.
The Hindu on the Bindu is everyone’s “inner child, our spirit of imagination and our connection to creativity and hope,” according to the website, and it’s not just something that can be associated with Diwali on Thursday. Euler wants the focus of the book and toy to be about storytelling, something kids can experience all year around.
“I see so many kids devoted to their [games] and telephones and if you ask them questions about heritage, about their family, they wouldn’t know what to answer,” he said. “If you don’t know where you’re coming from, you don’t know where you’re going, and that’s a problem. I want to bring people back again, to know where they’re coming from.”
The book opens with a man who tells stories in his village, but one day he wakes up and has no stories to tell. He’s distraught, until he hears a knock inside his head from the child that sits on his bindu, the red dot applied to the forehead in Hinduism. The bindu is a symbol of beginnings, Euler said, and that marks the two characters setting off to find more stories.
Hindu on the Bindu was a sponsor of this year’s Times Square Diwali celebration, and while there, Euler said he saw so many kids smile at the sight of the doll. He hopes the doll can reach all kinds of people in the same way.
“Since we are already a mixed family, my vision is that children from all over will basically read this story and then be encouraged to tell their own stories or find out own stories from their family,” Euler said. “I decided that being a Jew living in the U.S., where so many countries merge together, I wanted to create a story project where people tell the stories of their ancestors… about what happened when they were young, how did they celebrate whatever — Christmas, Hanukkah or Diwali.”