Thursday, October 27, 2011

Afterthoughts on Diwali …

My facebook friends have been posting this picture religiously every year. And this shows how beautiful, how mesmerising India looks from space on Diwali night.

How a no moon night comes alive with candles, diyas, lamps and lights.

Well, all I want to do is to express my thanks to all those who posted this.

If this is a satellite picture, I am glad we have the satellites and the technology that can provide us with such details.

If this is a growth progression from 90’s to 2000’s, I am glad we have progressed so.

If this is an artist’s imagination, I am glad he could paint what India should look like on a Diwali night.

Because all said and done, amidst all the fireworks and firecrackers, the beauty was a little fogged.

Yes, the houses were embellished. Complete with the lights, laughter and merry making of everybody.

The first round of fireworks in the alley blew all the candles out. The second round nearly deafened us. And the third round brought with it a bout of smoke and ash and all the oxides of carbon.

The sound of the crackers was the only decipherable sound. The play of crackers, the only visible celebration.

Thick blanket of smoke engulfed the surroundings. It was darkness all around. The only saving grace was the glow of the crackers. Defying all smoke. Defying all haze. But every single cracker that burnt added to the layer of smoke and gases.

Stepping outside was a real challenge. It was literally poison in the air. So difficult to breathe. The eyes watered. The throat burned with every breath. The sick, the infants, the elderly and those with respiratory troubles received the gift of "discomfort". Most retreated back to their rooms and drawing rooms.

Every year, several thousand of fireworks and firecrackers are lit. Treat for eyes, hole in pocket and threat to life.

Every year, several campaigns are launched; to have a smoke free Diwali; to curtail pollution; to protest against the fireworks industries where kids are employed.

And, yet! Every year, the fireworks flood the market, the homes and the sky.

The fireworks are integral to this festivity. Their splendour and sparkle is unmatched. But so is the society that we live in.

While we clean our houses, make rangolis and decorate every corner we can think of, we subject our earth India and sky India to the dark mines of pollution, suffering and pain.

Is this what we call a “Happy Diwali”?

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