Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I was a troubled kid. Troubled, by asthma that is. So, approach Diwali time and mom would announce, “Son, no crackers. Doctor’s orders.” Now, kids are not kids unless they are spanked. In this case I did not need one. Disobedience of the above mentioned “farmaan” brought with it a lot of dust on my clothes, an ambulance and a panic stricken look to my parents face. Writhing, coughing, almost choking on the smoke.
So that called for forced austerity. NO boom-boom-bang-bang when all the kids in the locality would be at it with all the enthusiasm they could manufacture. It would be eleven years before I would touch another (kids approved) explosive. I had to paint up all the reasons I could to explain my lack of participation in the celebrations, but today I think I am better off doing that. Realizing what that austerity helped me understand and really sink in this thick head, it just could not have come in any other way.
No, I do not want to be another Mr. Al Bore. No offense meant. He is doing his part for the environment and has been amply rewarded with a lot of money and the Nobel. No, I do not want to stand on that podium. I do not have any presentation, laser pointer and anything as such. Might sound hilarious, maybe is, but just me existing here as of now is something I would like to be grateful about. I could have died on that day, had it not been for someone’s timely phone call and a helping hand. Not just me, no. Hundreds of kids have the indignity of dying due the (frankly) unnecessary smoke. Some face familiar?
If light and prosperity is what this festival is supposed to mean, then a simple “diya” would suffice. It does, in the vast majority of India where people cannot afford the products of child labour from Sivakasi and other places. But why should we? We are not stricken for money? Yes we are not. Just remember that when you curse the loud speakers blaring during Ganesh Utsav. They are not the only sources of “noise pollution that harms the environment and troubles sane and sentient human beings.”
Couple of thousand more on the clothes and food won’t be as bad I think. I mean, in my puny brain I just displaced the allocated cracker budget to some other items on the list. Old clothes can be given away. Leftover food too. Will that not bring a million buck smile to some face? It adds up to the festival, I think. Makes it brighter. Or if you are so stuffed up on the top floor, just put that money in the bank and use it for your kids future. Two blessing in one, bank (recession, you see) and child.
Diwali for me, is a time to re-unite my family and the values it lives. The physical distance between you and them just makes it sweeter. Not for fire gutted huts, ambulance sirens blaring and people trying to cope with their tears. That is the main course for the lunch we live everyday.
Well, personal opinions anyway (I heard someone saying bullshit? That’s ok. Happens.)
Sanity hath its downfall and hospital ride. While that is being bandaged and taken care of, madness can run amok. But I know for sure that the run will be quite short. Happy Diwali.
at 1:13 AM