Saturday, October 29, 2016

This Diwali, Stop Being a Killjoy.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, October 29, 2016 4 comments

There are things that we don't have the earliest memories of. Falling in love with Diwali is one such event. When I was a child, I would wait for Diwali, every year. Back then I did not know why I enjoyed the festival thoroughly except for the fact that like every child, I too loved bursting crackers. However, as a mere spectator of the festival this year, I could list out a lot of reasons. Who knew that spectators have a better view than the participants?

My mother made Dahi Wada (Or Perugu gaarilu as I fondly call) every year during Diwali and only during Diwali. The arrival of Diwali itself would make me anticipate those delicious savouries and for some reason, I believed that she made it so rarely only because it was her little Diwali ritual. I still remember how they tasted in my mouth and how she'd keep a couple of them away for me to surprise me later.

The other thing I remember was how desperately I'd wait for her to complete the puja at home so that she could take me downstairs with my bag of crackers. If my grandmother was around, it got even better. Growing up, all my festivals had a historical or spiritual significance. My grandmother would either tell me why we celebrated a particular festival or my mother would narrate the importance of the pujas that took place at our home. It was the same story every time, but I was an ardent listener. Diwali always had a special place in my heart, and for even more reasons that remain unknown, I always knew I'd grow up loving it more and narrating the festivities that go with it.

Big, fat mistake.

I was fifteen when I stopped bursting crackers. I wanted to be all eco-friendly and reduce noise pollution from my end. While I was always a little scared of the noises that are associated with Diwali, I wasn't the one to stop burning a pencil or two and a sparkler, here and there. Hey, I wasn't hurting animals or killing plants too. But the urge to make everyone around me stop celebrating it was a tad bit over the top and over the years, I realized that I was just trying hard to be a version of someone I wanted to be, but wasn't. I was only being a killjoy. Who was I kidding?

However, in 2015, I booked my first car during Diwali and I wanted to burst crackers. And I did, without harming any animals or killing plants. Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil (the killing of Naraka), and the return of Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Mahavir Jain attained Nirvana on this day. Apart from India, there are at least 8 countries that celebrate Diwali, together.

And if this doesn't call for a celebration, I am truly lost at what does?

As my Facebook feed is overflowing with the posts of pseudo-environmentalists ranting about how Diwali is screwing up with the Indian civilization and society, I'd like to tell you that there are myriad things that ACTUALLY ruin the above said, but Diwali is probably the last thing to contribute to it. If you could find out the root cause of what's really screwing up with our society and civilization without being a killjoy, by all means, do it. Otherwise, learn that we are the only bridge between our previous generations and the next. If we stop believing in the beauty and the significance of the Indian festivals, I am sure the further generations will only read them on their latest iPads.

What's the point of having such rich traditions and not living them?

P.S. People, stay safe while celebrating Diwali. Don't burn yourself, or hurt people around you. Do not get crackers that REALLY add to the pollution.


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