I officially hate Diwali, as celebrated in Mumbai. While I appreciate and understand the significance of the festival per se, I cannot, for the life of me, understand how and why Mumbaikers celebrate it the way they do. It is disgusting and I have become agitated by the same.
Imagine this: it’s 6 am on a Tuesday morning and you are fast asleep in the comfort of your bed, when outside you hear bomb like noise that awaken the day light out of you. And in your sleep you are confused as to what is going on. My first reaction is, just like last year, has Pakistan finally invaded India? Why does it sound like Mumbai is being put through massive carpet bombing? Is there a blitzkrieg? Should I run for my life? And then it bloody well dawns on you that the noise that sounds like incessant bombarding, is but only the noise pollution caused by huge firecrackers and bombs. Yet, it feels like a freakin’ war zone.
I have been exposed to this kind of air and noise pollution since Monday night. It is a Wednesday night, around 23:40 hours, and people are still bursting missile like fire crackers all over Mumbai. Last night, I was ready to sleep by 10 pm, but only made it to bed at 12 am because of the firecrackers. I kid you not, it sounds like I am in the midst of a war. Even the street dogs are running helter-skelter, trying to find refuge underneath street cars and building compounds, worrying for their lives. The birds are also flying about and it is quite apparent that they are disturbed by all of this. My poor cat, that has never been subjected to such auditory atrocities in the USA, has been hiding under the sofa for the last couple of days. The air is densely coated with smog and the rusty smell of gun powder. I hate it and my windows have been shut tight for the last 3 days.
One of the most noisiest crackers are the 1000 wala garland crackers. It literally is a string of a 1000 crackers that go off in one go and sounds like a heavy duty riffle gun in action. I can’t explain it any better, so hoping this picture may help:
A recent article in the newspaper quoted Minesh Mehta, the joint secretary of the Mumbai and Thane District Fireworks Dealers’ Welfare Association with the following: “The sale of loud crackers has fallen by 60% this year.” If this is true, I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like a few years ago.
It really saddens me to think how much money people spend on fire crackers every year. Even the “poor” people seem to be able to shell out money for the sole purpose of firecrackers. All I know is that Diwali, the “festival of lights” is more like the “festival of deafening noise” and I hate every bit of it!