BOOM! An ear-shattering explosion right outside which makes you jump out of your skin. The stench of smoke so strong it enters into your nostrils and even into your rooms. Battered, torn, little red paper bits scattered all across the streets outside. Little children running around every nook and corner carrying guns that go ‘phat-phat-phat-phat!’ Families hop scotching from one relative’s place to another, wearing bright attire and carrying huge boxes filled with sweets so saccharine they fail to serve their purpose. Chubby, prosperous women throwing kitty parties, playing flash, and exchanging luxurious gifts. What am I talking about? It’s a simple trisyllabic word almost everyone is familiar with: DIWALI!
Yup, it’s that time of the year again. Personally and blatantly speaking, I’m not a big fan of this festival. I cuss under my breath every time a bomb explodes and makes me drop whatever I’m holding. I fail to understand what sadistic pleasure people achieve by simply producing loud noises? It honestly beats me. I always vouch for a non-smoke Diwali every year.
As a kid, I remember the little pig-tailed me, tinkering around here and there wearing new clothes, jumping holding sparkly phuljaris, lighting up the whole place with candles and diyas and proving to her cousins how daring she is by jumping across revolving charkhis. I used to enjoy it all, but honestly, I mostly used to be scared out of my wits of those godforsaken bombs!
Does that mean I’m a scaredy cat? Maybe so, but this is what it is.
See, I like the fact that people celebrate it because Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile in the forest and all, but today, do people really celebrate that? His return? Or is it merely an excuse to dress up, pollute the environment, and eat lots and burn thousands of bucks into smoke? Imagine the amount of pollution that is added to our country in one single day! Not to mention the accidents caused due to firecrackers.
For me, Diwali is a wonderful time because the families get together! This year we went to my mama’s place at Mathura. He is in the army and the cantonment area in which he resides was beautiful and well maintained. All I remember about that weekend is, soaking in the winter sun in their lovely little garden, having the most mouth-watering tasty delights prepared by mami amidst fun family banter, lazing around in the living room listening to the Beatles and watching amazing fireworks together. It was peaceful, refreshing and just what I needed after a hectic college month.
I started to think a tad optimistically on the night of Diwali, when I went up on my terrace. It was….. spectacular. The houses were amazingly illuminated with countless blinking lights, while the sky was emblazoned with continuous fireworks exploding all across it. The sound of crackers, rockets and bombs booming all around me, amalgamating into an uninterrupted, amazing symphony until it seemed as if the whole world was joyful. Everybody, the sky, the trees, the buildings, every living and non-living thing was partying and celebrating and rejoicing together. Everything seemed united. Alive!
And I just stood there, turning round and round slowly, looking up at the sky. All I could whisper was “Wow”. All the money spent, all the blasts, all the smoke, all the pollution, it all seemed worth it. Smiling to myself, I decided Diwali in India is like Christmas in the west. There is so much positivity, love, happiness, brightness and togetherness around you that it’s hard to remain unaffected by it. As Andy Williams puts it, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”! :D
Happy Diwali to one and all!