Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Festival of (p)Light

It’s been long since my fingers tapped on the keyboard, and the punched-beaten-harassed-overworked keys aren’t too happy about having me back! I can say that because they aren’t complying with my rough demands today, and so I am forced to check, recheck, type, retype, delete and correct things multiple times.

Nevertheless, Diwali is almost here and I am really sorry about the whole thing, except for the fact that it marks an end to my fifth semester at college.
Unlike the average Indian for whom Diwali is a high-light event (pun intended), for me, Diwali is just a stupid, silly festival of (p)light.
Before the devout Hindus of this nation rush up to strangle my already choking throat (smog, you see!), let me clarify that it is not the festival I am against; it is only the mystifying meanings we have assigned to it that I am allergic (literally) to!

What make Diwali a festival of darkness for many of us are the frivolous notions, expectations, ideations and traditions that have come to be associated with it over the years, as the society has devolved.

Smoke (and noise)

There is something depressing about the entire patakha mess that plagues the streets of Delhi soon after the ten headed menace of Ravana is burnt to ashes during Dussehra. Kids as young as five years of age vow to replace that menace and create a city of smoke on the congested, dying streets of the capital. Even adults no longer care about the rising pollution levels and plunge into bursting crackers, full throttle. People set fire to their own hard-earned money and dance with inexplicable joy as it is reduced to wisps of smoke which blanket the whole atmosphere.
And, I am not even going to start about the obvious, intense discomfort animals face due to the noise and the pollution.
Breathing the city’s air during such times of smog is equivalent to smoking eight cigarettes a day. In fact, Delhi is so polluted that every year you spend here shortens your life span by a month! (Yes, you are free to Google the stats, doubters!)
This Diwali, spare those of us whose lungs aren’t as good at breathing smoke, and gift us all a life, please. _/\_

  The mess and stress of gifting

Though more prominent in the corporate world, commercialization of Diwali is no news to us. While the opportunity is fully exploited by chain discount stores by offering attractive gift packages, schemes and irresistible vouchers to the frenzied shoppers, for most of us, choosing gifts for friends, family, business partners, bosses, colleagues, and the occasional door ka rishtedaar who materializes out of nowhere during festivals, is a headache. And, people always secretly dislike the gifts they get, anyway!
Here is a tip: Limit the exchange of gifts to those who you cannot do without (read essential business associates), prefer gifting cash wherever possible so that the other person can use it to their advantage and not sulk over the gift,  and if someone takes offence over your no gifting strategy, fold your hands and mutter ‘good riddance.’ Honestly, you are better off without such people in your life. And, think of the number of dinner sets and glass sets you will be spared in return! :P


Though the chaos is common on Delhi roads at any given time of the year, Diwali takes the cake. This Diwali, since you are no longer a part of the gifting mess, give your car some rest and avoid the jungle on roads ;) Carpooling is a good option, plus, you always have public transport that saves you the trouble of clutch-break-accelerator-break-break-clutch! J Travel easy, travel happy!

 Lights that can make you go blind, and the nation bankrupt

We as Indians are licensed to waste the nation’s resources, but, even by our standards, Diwali marks the absolute epitome of the reckless expenditure. And what is worse is that we are spending it on Chinese lights- giving the Chinese more reasons than us, to celebrate the festival. Case in point, just take a look at the extravagance that goes into lighting up houses at Diwali, decking them up like brides to be!  
No, I am not against lights. But, excess of everything is bad.
Complement electric lights with traditional diyas, so you not only save on the bill, and the nation’s resources (electricity in India mainly comes from coal which is non-renewable resource, as fifth standard Science will tell you!) but also contribute to the meager incomes of the desi artisans. Give them a cause to celebrate, too! J

So, dear fellow citizens of my nation, this Diwali, be a little more considerate. Celebrate and put a smile on the faces of those not as fortunately blessed as you, and have a good time without the chaos, confusion and drama.
Here is wishing you all a very happy Diwali. Please don’t make it a festival of plight J