Dunderpedia: The Office Wiki

"Diwali is a celebration of the coronation of the god king Rama after his epic battle with Ravena, the demon king of Lanka. It symbolizes the battle between good and evil."
"All right, all right. This isn't Lord of the Rings."
Dwight Schrute and Michael Scott

"Diwali" is the sixth episode of the third season of The Office and the 34th overall. It was written by Mindy Kaling and directed by Miguel Arteta. It first aired on November 2, 2006. It was viewed by 8.8 million people.


Kelly invites the entire staff to a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. Michael serves as the vocal supporter of such an event and believes it to be an Indian version of Halloween.

A staff meeting is scheduled to enlighten staff members about Hindu culture. This is met with disgusted replies by Angela, excitement by Kevin (particularly after seeing illustrations in a kama sutra booklet distributed by Michael) and an uncomfortable Toby, who decides to end the meeting and takes away the booklets.

Back in Stamford, Jim has decided to follow Josh's example and ride his bike to work. Meanwhile, Andy pulls out a bottle of Jägermeister and shot glasses to turn a late night of work into a drinking game, which Karen wins by pouring her shots into her wastebasket while the two men continue to down shots.

Michael and Carol arrive at the Diwali festival in costume since Michael thought the celebration would be a "costume party." Carol is a cheerleader and Michael is wearing his papier-mâché twin from Halloween 2005, which he quickly removes.

Ryan, dressed in a kurta (traditional men's Indian attire), tries to acquaint himself with Kelly's family, which is met with giggling by Kelly's younger sisters. Ryan believes they compared his looks to Zach Braff, and meets disapproval by Kelly's parents, who want to set her up with an Indian doctor. This only gets worse when Ryan speaks with her parents about his promotion at Dunder Mifflin and his plans to save money for travel and an Xbox. Dwight gets into the spirit of the festival and dons a red Kurta. Even Michael is shown dancing happily to the music.

Initially reluctant to attend the festival, Pam decides to go and actually enjoys herself as she starts dancing along with the staff and the rest of the festivalgoers. A cleaned up Roy shows up in time to find Pam in the middle of the dancing crowd, with another man too, making him uncomfortable, and he silently exits the party.

Michael has an enlightening conversation with Kelly's parents about Hindu marriage customs and suddenly interrupts the celebration to publicly propose to Carol. Uncomfortable, Carol declines his offer and leaves the room. Michael follows her out to the car, where they briefly talk; Carol citing that this is only their ninth date, while Michael states how much he likes her. Carol drives home, leaving Michael to find a ride.

Meanwhile, Pam is surprised to find herself inspired by Michael's outgoing, romantic nature and she sends a text message to Jim. However, Jim is passed out on his desk and is unaware of the incoming message on his cell phone. As the Diwali festival winds down, a dejected Michael makes an attempt to kiss a disappointed Pam, who stops him and reluctantly agrees to drive him home, as long as he sits in the back seat. On the drive, he mentions the shoes he's wearing aren't his own.

Back in Stamford, Karen leaves for the night, as Jim continues to lie face down on his desk and Andy is laid out on the floor, both completely inebriated. Jim asks Andy if he can get a ride but Andy says "No way, dude," and begins to unfurl an inflatable mattress. He offers to share the "roomy twin" with Jim. Jim decides to ride his bike home but barely exits the front door when he crashes sideways into the bushes. An amused Karen laughs and offers Jim a ride home. He accepts immediately and crawls into her backseat leaving her to deal with his bicycle.

Sometime during the party, Michael took the stage with Dwight behind him on guitar. Beginning by saying "this is going out to Indians everywhere," he began a song as a tribute to "one of the greats" Mr. Adam Sandler. The lyrics are: "Diwali is a festival of lights, let me tell you something, tonight has been.. one crazy night, so put on your saris, it's time to celebrate Diwali, everybody looks so jolly, but it's not Christmas, it's Diwali, the goddess of destruction Kali, stopped by to celebrate Diwali, don't invite any zombies, to our celebration of Diwali, along came Polly, to have some fun at Diwali, if you're Indian and you love to party, have a happy, happy, happy, happy Diwali." He then wished everybody a Happy Diwali and the crowd cheered.

Deleted scenes

  • In a talking head interview, Pam explains that she understands that she should get out more, but is not convinced that a Diwali party is the right venue.
  • Angela doesn't understand why the office is going to a party for a holiday that doesn't even exist.
  • In a talking head interview, Angela explains that some people in the office are too obsessed with things Indian. The documentary filmmaker underscores this point with the moment from Christmas Party where Kelly kisses Dwight.
  • In a talking head interview, Michael explains that as the boss, he must support all cultures and that certain people have been offended, and Diwali provides an opportunity to make it up to them. The documentary filmmaker underscores this point with the moment from Diversity Day where Kelly slaps Michael.
  • Michael tires of Kelly's description of Diwali and demands an explanation in three words or less. "An Indian Halloween." Jan is upset that Michael is letting everyone off work early to go to a party, and Michael acts shocked that Jan doesn't know what Diwali is - after Michael explains its cultural significance (surprising Jan, who had assumed Kelly was Muslim - to which Kelly, listening on the speakerphone, takes great offense), Jan has no problem allowing it, and castigates Michael for not mentioning it earlier, so the company could've contributed to the event in some form.
  • In a talking head interview, Michael answers the question "Are you excited about the Diwali party?" by telling a rambling story about his original plans with Carol for a romantic evening.
  • Dwight asks Ryan how much his kurta cost.
  • Michael asks Pam to notify the office about his Diwali meeting and gets upset when Pam suggests that she isn't going to the party.
  • At Michael's conference, he identifies Sir Ben Kingsley as responsible for the departure of the British from India. "And then he became an actor, like Ronald Reagan." Pam points out to Michael that his shirt is buttoned wrong. In a talking head interview, Pam is frustrated that she can't share the moment with Jim.
  • Dwight asks Pam if she's afraid Roy will attend the Diwali party with a new girlfriend, or maybe Roy will find a hot Indian girl, or maybe Dwight will. Angela overhears this remark.
  • Andy tells the documentary camera that his fraternity name was "Hubble" for his ability to spot a party. It was better than his freshman nickname when he had a skin problem when his nickname was "El Guapo".
  • Phyllis's curiosity about the food at the Diwali party annoys Stanley.
  • In a talking head interview, Angela explains that as the head of the Party Planning Committee, she is obligated to attend all office parties, even one held in Hell.
  • When the Stamford staff order sushi for dinner, Andy offers "Big Tuna" Jim the tuna, but Jim asks for the eel. Andy is puzzled.
  • Kelly is overjoyed when Pam arrives and takes her to meet some cute guys.
  • Carol introduces herself to Ryan, who is uncomfortable that she has learned so much about him from Michael.
  • Pam talks with the young Indian doctor, who invites her to dance. Meanwhile, Dwight engages in a lightsaber battle with a young boy.
  • Kevin mocks Michael after the failed proposal.
  • In a talking head interview, Ryan says that he was at the Diwali party just for the free food. He takes off his kurta and can't find his shoes.
  • Dwight stops Angela as she leaves the Diwali party. Angela is quietly upset at Dwight, who reassures his "monkey" that his interest in India is restricted to its culture. He then loudly announces that it is late and asks Angela if he can stop by Angela's house for some Pepto-Bismol. Angela smiles to herself, then spots Kelly and Ryan and scolds them for making out in public.
  • Kevin appeals to Kelly's parents to hire his band for Diwali 2007.
  • Michael loses at cards to an old Indian woman.


  • Despite not planning the Diwali celebration, the Party Planning Committee meets in order to determine how everyone will carpool to the party. According to the whiteboard, Phyllis, Stanley, Angela, Kevin and Pam go in Bob Vance's Yukon, while Darryl, Lonnie, Creed, Ryan and Kelly would join Meredith in her minivan. Missing are Oscar (on leave), Michael (going with Carol), and Dwight. Pam ended up going by herself, since she drove Michael home.
  • Angela's hostility toward Diwali is explained in a deleted scene where she explains that she feels that "some people" (namely, Dwight) are too interested in things Indian (namely, Kelly).
  • Angela wishes Kevin still had his shoes on at the Diwali party, continuing the references to Kevin's unnamed foot condition. In a deleted scene from "Grief Counseling," it was revealed Kevin suffers from hyperhidrosis.
  • The Stamford employees have take-out sushi for dinner. Combining heavy alcohol with sushi is not advised because sushi does not contain a lot of fat, which slows the body's absorption of alcohol.
  • Kelly's parents tell Michael that Carol is "very fair," meaning that she is attractive, possibly also referring to her skin color. Michael misinterprets it as meaning that she is unbiased and replies, "Yes, she is very fair and kind."
  • Kelly's parents try to set her up with a doctor. Spoiler: Kelly eventually marries an Indian pediatrician in Season 9.
  • In the deleted scene on the DVD where Angela talks about Diwali not existing, the subtitles are wrong. Pam said "The Hallmarks in India might" whereas the subtitles say "The Hallmarks in India mate".
  • When Roy comes in and sees Pam dancing, the song was called out in the script.
  • In Pam's car, Michael says, "These are not my shoes." In a deleted scene Ryan asks, "Where are my shoes?" This suggests that Michael took Ryan's shoes.
  • According to dialogue between Michael and Carol, Diwali is their ninth date, but in the episode "Sex Ed," Carol claims Michael proposed to her on their fourth date. Some fans explain this by suggesting that Michael proposed twice. Carol could also have simply misremembered.
  • The building Jim comes out of looks nothing like the building that is shown when the scene switches to Stamford.
  • Michael held a piece of paper with the lyrics to his Diwali song. This was an acting choice by Steve Carell, who decided that Michael had written the song on the spot and needed to refer to his lyrics.
  • Goof: As Jim leaves with his bicycle, Rashida Jones's white slippers are visible under Karen's desk. The actors were given slippers to wear when off-set to avoid damaging their wardrobe shoes.[1]
  • Goof: When the camera pans over to the crowd after Michael's performance of the Diwali Song, Pam and Angela are sitting next to each other. The characters are hostile to each other, but the actors are close friends in real life.[2]

Amusing details

  • Dwight is able to give a more accurate explanation of the origins of Diwali than Kelly. This begins a recurring theme that Kelly is proud of her Indian heritage despite not knowing much about it.
  • Jim bikes to work after seeing Josh do the same, a parallel to how Dwight tries to copy Michael's antics. Jim's attempt even leaves him looking a bit silly as Dwight normally would.
  • Kelly's sisters giggle that "Kelly likes Zach Braff" in Hindi.
  • Michael assures Carol that no one will even notice she is in a costume as he quickly removes his.
  • Diwali would be better explained as a Hindu Thanksgiving or Christmas rather than Halloween.
  • Angela noticeably disapproves of Dwight wearing a kurta.
  • Angela asks if anything is vegetarian and is informed that everything is vegetarian. Nevertheless, she has only the naan bread but is disgusted that it is served by hand. She is seen eating it anyway. One theory is that Angela didn't want to eat any "foreign" food at all, and hoped that the food would not be vegetarian so she would have an excuse.
  • Angela makes a point to guard the shoes in case they are stolen. Despite her efforts it is implied that Michael took Ryan's shoes by mistake.
  • Andy is overjoyed that Jim drunkenly sings along with him.

Behind the scenes

  • The party was shot at Grant High School, mostly in the gym. School was in session, and shooting had to work around the school schedule. Grant High School is a popular shooting location. Melora Hardin went to Grant High School.[3]
  • Writer Mindy Kaling grew up in the United States and didn't know much about the holiday of Diwali. She imbued this into her character Kelly, who is excited about the holiday despite not knowing much about it beyond getting dressed up.[4]
  • Greg Daniels wasn't satisfied with the actors who auditioned to play Kelly's parents, and they ended up being portrayed by Mindy Kaling's real parents, who had no previous acting experience. Kaling recalls that her mother was convinced she was the better actor, but it turns out the director was more impressed with her father and wanted to use him more. Kaling didn't want her father to become a recurring character and tried to minimize his screen time.[5]
  • Kelly's youngest sister was played by Jaysha Patel, who didn't speak Hindi and learned her line phonetically just before the audition. Patel subsequently shifted from acting to journalism and is now a television news anchor and reporter.[6]
  • The dances in the episode were choreographed by Bollywood dance instructor Nakul Dev Mahajan and performed by his dance troupe, who struggled to dance more amateurishly in order to be appropriate for their characters.[7]
  • Pam's dancing, on the other hand, was not choreographed. "That was just Jenna being Jenna."[8]
  • The doctor was played by Vali Chandrasekaran, who was a writer for My Name is Earl and was a friend of the writers on the show. He later went on to write for 30 Rock and serve as an executive producer on Modern Family.
  • In the script, Andy sang a different Indigo Girls song. On the set, John Krasinski suggested that Jim sing along, so they changed the song to Closer to Fine so Andy and Jim could harmonize.[9]
  • The shooting script called for Andy, Karen, and Jim to go a bar and get drunk. Jim and Karen have a sloppy, drunken make-out session in the parking lot. Rashida Jones (Karen) was worried that fans would hate her. The scene was shot, but Stephen Merchant recommended that it be cut.[10]

Cultural references

  • Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights. Dwight's description is accurate. (Michael's is not.) A kurta is a traditional garment worn in India.
  • A Yukon is a model of light truck.
  • An appletini is a martini that substitutes apple juice (or similar) for vermouth.
  • Sex and the City is a television program about four women living in New York City and their struggles with sex and romance.
  • The movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (inaccurately) depicts monkey brains served at an Indian meal.
  • Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrating African-American heritage.
  • The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy novel made by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  • Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar is a Nobel prize-winning physicist. Apu is a caricature Indian character from the cartoon The Simpsons. M. Night Shyamalan is an award-winning film writer and director; he was born in India but grew up in the United States. The Village, Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, and Signs are all Shyamalan movies. I see dead people is a line from the movie The Sixth Sense, and Dwight reveals the twist ending to the movie.
  • An important element of the television comedy Cheers is the sexual tension between the two lead characters, Sam and Diane.
  • Michael describes his visual aids as culturally explicit, a reworking of the euphemism sexually explicit.
  • Angela is disgusted that the server touched the naan with his hands. In Indian culture, it is acceptable to eat with one's hands.
  • Kelly's sister says, "Kelly likes Zach Braff" in Hindi.
  • Michael confuses samosas (a traditional Indian food similar to a fried dumpling) with s'mores (a traditional American campfire food consisting of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow).
  • Beyonce's song Crazy In Love plays at the Diwali festival when Roy arrives and sees Pam dancing with the doctor.
  • Michael asks Kelly's mother if "she has to throw herself on a fire" when her husband dies, referring to the ancient custom of Sati.
  • Gringo is a Latin American (not Indian) term for foreigners. Within the Hispanic community in the United States, it is often applied pejoratively to Caucasian Americans.
  • An Xbox is a video game console by Microsoft.
  • Andy and Jim sing the song "Closer to Fine" by the Indigo Girls.
  • Taxicab Confessions is a documentary series which surreptitiously records candid conversations with taxi passengers. At the end of the ride, the cameras are revealed and the passengers are asked to grant permission to use the footage in the documentary.
  • Adam Sandler is a comedian best known for his work on Saturday Night Live. Michael's Diwali song is in the style of Sandler's popular Chanukah Song series.
  • Claritin is a brand of antihistamine. A roofie (slang for the drug flunitrazepam) is a "date rape" drug; it has a sedative and hypnotic effect and also results in amnesia.
  • The Indian songs that play during the Diwali party are:
    • "Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna" by Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan, from the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (when everyone is arriving)
    • "Ek Ladki Ko Dekha" by Kumar Sanu, from 1942: A Love Story (when everyone is eating)
    • "Lodi" by Lata Mangeshkar, Udit Narayan, and Gurdas Mann, from Veer-Zaara (when Michael is shown dancing)
    • "Mere Mehboob Mere Sanam" by Shahrukh Khan, from Duplicate (when Michael is talking to Kelly's parents before proposing)
    • "Didi Tera Devar Deewana" by Lata Mangeshkar and S. P. Balasubramaniam, from Hum Aapke Hain Koun (when Ryan is talking to Kelly's parents)


Main cast

Supporting cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast

  • Tanveer Atwal as Rupa (Kelly's Sister)
  • Ananya Kepper as Tiffany (Kelly's Sister)
  • Avu Chokalingam as Kelly's Dad
  • Swati Chokalingam as Kelly's Mom
  • Jaysha Patel as Neepa (Kelly's Sister)
  • Kunal Sharma as Food Server/Teenager #1
  • Sunah Bilsted as Waitress
  • Nakul Dev Mahajan as Dancer/Choreographer
  • Varun Gurunath as Dancer
  • Siddharth Jain as Dancer
  • Anita Kapila as Dancer
  • Sangita Sanyal as Dancer
  • Karishma Sawhney as Dancer
  • Rita Sehmi as Dancer
  • Rohan Vora as Dancer
  • Gagandeep Bedi
  • Vali Chandrasekaran


  1. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 34: Diwali with Mindy Kaling (Transcript), Office Ladies podcast, July 1, 2020, Timecode 1:15:04.
  2. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 34: Diwali with Mindy Kaling (Transcript), Office Ladies podcast, July 1, 2020, Timecode 1:22:48.
  3. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 34: Diwali with Mindy Kaling (Transcript), Office Ladies podcast, July 1, 2020, Timecode 3:49.
  4. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 34: Diwali with Mindy Kaling (Transcript), Office Ladies podcast, July 1, 2020, Timecode 18:50.
  5. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 34: Diwali with Mindy Kaling (Transcript), Office Ladies podcast, July 1, 2020, Timecode 33:03.
  6. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 34: Diwali with Mindy Kaling (Transcript), Office Ladies podcast, July 1, 2020, Timecode 57:12.
  7. The Office message boards on NBC (broken link)
  8. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 34: Diwali with Mindy Kaling (Transcript), Office Ladies podcast, July 1, 2020, Timecode 1:06:25.
  9. Holman, Curt. 'The Office's' Andy Bernard returns to Atlanta, Creative Loafing web site, March 21. 2007.
  10. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 34: Diwali with Mindy Kaling (Transcript), Office Ladies podcast, July 1, 2020, Timecodes 23:34 and 1:18:17.