Wednesday, October 26, 2011

deepavali deafavali

Diwali.Autumn. The cirrus clouds and swirling leaves.Early dusk and the nip in the air.Diwali.The flickering glow of the diyas, the mango leaves in the doorway and marigolds at the altar. The boxes of sweets piling up,fridge bursting at the seams with stuff.( I could also add 'the irresistible aroma of sinful things being prepared in the kitchen'. But I have managed to wriggle out of that this year citing unavailability of LPG :-)) And Diwali...the shopping! Ah, but what i would do without shopping? Also Diwali, when you wake up at 4.30 in the morning with your heart in the mouth because your neighbours, having had the ritual bath, have decided to advertise the fact and usher in Diwali by bursting crackers right below your windows.

And thereon, it's totally downhill . Crackers for morning tea, crackers at breakfast,afternoon crackers, and of course all through the evening till the wee hours.There is a continuous rumble of firecrackers punctuated with the frequent eardrum shattering blasts.And this is not just for one day, but at least for one week,though to a lesser degree, or till the children and young adults run out of their stock or Tulsi Vivah, (another festival that comes a fortnight after Diwali); whichever is later. One cannot go out anywhere and it becomes outright dangerous to walk the roads because one might suddenly find oneself in the middle of a crossfire or whatever, or in the path of a rocket. Accidents do happen with a fair amount of regularity. But all the pleas of observing Diwali as a festival of lights and not as a festival of noises, fall on deaf (literally and metaphorically)ears.

One cannot expect the children to understand the concept of silence and we, Indians, do not understand the concept of noise pollution.( I am not even talking about concern for the elderly and the unwell.) So perhaps it is too much to expect that a beautiful festival like Diwali be observed in quietude, with just the lamps, sparklers and silent fireworks.But maybe we could exercise some restraint?
Perhaps the lawmakers could restrict the fire crackers within a time limit, say 6 to 9, and enforce it strictly?As far as i know, there actually exists such a law as well as a law on the sound decibel limit of crackers, but the cracker enthusiasts don't let such a small thing as a law spoil their fun.And who cares to monitor the decibel levels? So the next best thing is probably to have a specified cracker zone away from the residential areas where you can go and burn crackers any time of day and night.Though i doubt very much anybody would be willing to take the trouble to walk/drive to such a place when all they need to do is stand on their balconies or maybe walk a few steps down to their neighbours' doors, in order to indulge in their whims.
Unless the people themselves realise it and take some initiative and the few peace-loving people raise a voice against this menace and also until some stringent measures are taken , we'll continue to face this auditory onslaught every year and Diwali will continue to remain a festival of noises; noises not to drive away the evil spirits, but to wake up even the corpses.

Until then, happy deafavali to my Indian friends. To all others, happy deepavali (diwali)!

O insects
don't you complain too!
this autumn




aditya said...

Yes Ssanjuktaa.
I completely agree. Instead of being the festival of lights.. its been mindlessly turned into the festival of noise.
And thats a beautiful Issa haiku.

sanjuktaa said...

Thanks for your appreciation and your comment, Aditya.

Just 'Sanjukta', that other spelling with double s is for blogging purposes :-)

Alegria Imperial said...

Lovely reflection, Sanjukta! And what an apt haiku you chose from Issa. Thanks for giving me a deeper understanding of diwali. Aditya is right, and indeed, 'noise' has been my introduction to it.

Do keep on writing about your festivals.