Saturday, October 29, 2016

This Diwali, Stop Being a Killjoy.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, October 29, 2016

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.



superman said...

when people found deepawali,there was no pollution or industrial revolution or vehicles. being born on diwali,it was only festival i used to celebrate with fire crackers cuz i felt praying gods without leading morally right life is stupidity. people should stop using vehicles without rationality and people should control population which is major aspect of pollution. cuz of deforestation and deploration in human values,people are having pets and birds are forced to live around cities. diwali would have been as beautiful as ever with lot of fire crackers if its not senseless humans who are exploiting nature and speaking of fire crackers once in a year polluting cities is stupidity. i don't even get interest to celebrate diwali in apartments cuz its senseless to burst crackers when you don't have space. diwali is happiest when you have everyone around and with independent house with lot of space to burst lots and lots of crackers.

Sunaina Patnaik on 30 Oct 2016, 05:37:00 said...

@Superman: Yup, you are right.

Deepali Joshi Adhikary on 6 Nov 2016, 21:02:00 said...

Its like you wrote what I always thought and believed. Every festival has its specialties which gives it its uniqueness. And crackers, one of many other things, is synonymous with Diwali. I agree that loud crackers should be avoided, but I really cant fathom how a few crackers will break the hell loose. I mean there are other ways to reduce pollution. Plus, just like you said, we have grown up to love Diwali with crackers and all. So why should our kids not have fun. Lets do something more consistent and relevant to save environment rather than kill the spirit of the festival.

Sunaina Patnaik on 7 Nov 2016, 08:28:00 said...

@Deepali: :-) Thank you for visiting my space and leaving a lovely comment.


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