Diwali – The Festival of Lights


…..in your dreams!!! It is more like the festival of sound, irritation, and frustration. This morning, I jumped out of bed ready to take shelter under the bed because I heard a deafening sound and thought the city was being bombed; that there were air raids and we were under attack! I got out on the balcony and saw that there was no such thing and I was completely confused because I jumped out of my skin when I heard the sound AGAIN! Even the cat was stunned. On further inspection, I found a bunch of kids burning fire crackers on the other side of the road. It was f****** 7:30 am……7:30 in the morning!! Who, in their right minds, lights firecrackers so early in the morning, when the city is just waking up and getting along with its day?And mind you, this is on the eve of Diwali, not on the day of.

Diwali is actually a very symbolic and auspicious festival. It is based on the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, detailing the spiritual battle between Lord Rama and the demon Ravana. Of course, as with all epics and dramas, the good is victorious and prevails. So is the symbolism of Diwali, a reminder of the eternal and existential idea that the light within has to shine, and like Rama triumphed over Ravana, we too must strive for goodness and positivity and have these virtues or qualities triumph over evil and negativity, both from within and without. Here is a glimpse of one of the many streets of Mumbai that are littered with lights:

Of course, these days, where we are in the advancement of technology and social media, not many people really celebrates Diwali for what it is; for the rich meaning and important lessons it has conveyed over centuries and generations galore. Now, it is apparent that more and more people are solely interested in meeting family, going to parties and socializing, eating out, buying gifts, and the most irritating thing of all, one that tops the list, burning firecrackers.

I have managed to take a couple of videos from my balcony this evening – it’s pretty dimly lit on the streets, but you get to see the crackers. In this video, someone is burning a “fountain” firecracker in the middle of the freaking street while there are pedestrians and traffic. Notice the cloud of smoke it leaves behind:

Here is another video of what i call the “rocket” bomb. If you notice, the rocket flies out, toward the sky, and only god knows where it lands and who it kills on the way. Have a look:

Finally, I only shot the last few seconds of this massive bomb fest that took place outside my house, but it give you a sense of what I have had to deal with the last few hours AND over the next few days:

I really don’t know or understand why this tradition of burning crackers continues in the age of modern technology, and where such noise and toxins from the crackers pollutes and disturbs the environment. I have no clue.

But, this picture is worth a million words because this is my cat in the early hours of the evening when the noise pollution just started. Clearly, she is better accustomed to this nuisance than me. Of course, now she is hiding under the closet and praying for her life.

Lesson learned: If you don’t already have a heart attack, you could very well get one with this stunning noise! And if you have already had a heart attack once, be sure to face some serious trouble when you are living in the midst of this chaotic and deafening noise… you just might die.

p.s. All the dogs, cats, and rodents from the streets are cowering under cars and in the buildings or in the earth, praying for some respite from this melange of harsh and rude sounds.

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