But then, again, firecrackers aren't about religion. It's about environment. People are bound to pounce on this by saying that pollution is a common thing in the country and a week (yes, the neighbourhood kids make sure that the Great Noise lasts at least seven days) of chemical cloud won't change the status. Guess what? It does. Due to blatant ignorance on the part of urban India, Diwali has become a festival of chemicals celebrated with lanterns made in China. In an ideal world, we would be decorating the entrance with rangolis and placing diyas on every windowsill of the building. But no, that's not what happens. It looks like we are celebrating Christmas with fashionable neon lights that twinkles on and off! Technology breeds laziness but it shouldn't make us forget who we are and where we come from. My parents aren't vastly educated but they had the gumption to teach me at a very young age that it's all about lights (and sweets, of course!). Also, it's only when you have pets at home that you realize how difficult (read: traumatic) it can get for them when firecrackers burst in the vicinity. Shock is too weak a word to describe how they behave. The situation gets worse for the street dogs who have no place to escape to. Now that i've mentioned the so-called animals, i'm tempted to mention heart patients, pregnant ladies, oldies and people who are vulnerable to startling sounds here but you get the picture. The only funny part here is that the innocent being called kids are responsible for a majority of this chaos.
But then, again, Diwali is not about the props. It's about spreading the light and happiness. In a simple word, sharing. Gifting those who don't have an excuse to celebrate the festival. But no, that's far from what's really going on in our society. The market dictates that it stays within the house. We share gifts with those who share gifts with us. It's a lot like asking "how are you?" to those we know are fine. We'd rather burn the world than see the light spread. We'd rather waste money on chemicals that's eventually going to choke us someday. We'd rather stay ignorant and feel better about ourselves. Worse still, we'd rather assume that making some noise leaves us powerful. We'd rather not question the need to gift toy-guns to our kids only to be surprised in the future how India copied America's culture of gun violence in college. OK. Let's not go there.
Four Diwalis later, if i'm alive and typing, i'd write another piece on this subject. Till then, remember that noise affects only those who don't make them.