Saturday, November 6, 2010

C'mon Baby, Don't Light That Fire

The truth is out of the closet!
The Moggies, do NOT, like Diwali.

Yes indeed. We don't like Diwali.
And, we are not apologetic about it.

Diwali is noisy and dangerous.
If it had been less so, we wouldn't have had any grouses against it.
After all, each is best left to his own.

But, the loud and incessant kabooms of the crackers that started in the wee hours of the morning and rang on way past midnight, the thick cloud of acrid smoke that hangs heavy in the air, the sight of animals quivering in fear & cowering in dark corners, all reminds me of a war zone than a festive land.

It has finally succeeded in prodding me into coming out of my closet with my dislike.
This, and the fact that I have spent the past two days holding Ging's trembling paw, either semi-closeted in the wardrobe with my posterior sticking out in the most ungainly fashion, or in a supine state on a sofa.

Ging still remains firmly ensconced in the closet -or rather the wardrobe – into which she vanished on Friday evening. And despite my coaxing, she probably will not emerge from her sanctuary for another day, until the last smells and sounds of Diwali fade away.

As I set up a makeshift office well within sight of my little wailing one, I cannot help but wonder if this is the spirit Diwali is supposed to embody.

I had always been led to think of Diwali as the festival of lights....The triumph of good over evil. As a time for introspection and for dispelling ignorance and darkness from our lives.

Maybe, it once was so.
But, in today’s world, I see it more as a festival which brings in its wake as much darkness as it does light.

While most of us rush out to our parties and merry gatherings in our festive finery, bearing boxes of sweets and gifts, to play cards, laugh and gush over spectacular displays of fireworks, we often fail to see the dense smog and the harsh acrid smoke which threatens to blind and choke any benevolent God or Goddess who may dare to venture out in hope of blessing their devotees.

We fail to see the animals and birds of various sizes and shapes with their fear crazed eyes, trembling violently and desperately seeking some semblance of security in dark corners and hidden alleys.

Blinded by the glittering lights and deafened by the blaring music, we forget the endless hours of power cuts and black-outs suffered in the sweltering heat during the rest of the year.
And, we fail to remember the little children in Sivakasi who risk health and life to bring us the bombs, crackers and sparklers to add light and colour to our festival of lights.

Would these children and animals see Diwali in the same light as the rest of us?
I wonder.

I once learnt in a communications class, that the greatness of an idea lies in its relevance to its time.

I think this is true of our festivals too.
Festivals, like lifestyles, education, food habits and traditions, must be relevant to the changing times. To achieve this, man must find from within himself, the ability to look beyond iron clad traditions, to understand the true spirit of the occasion and interpret it in accordance with the world he lives in.

And until he learns to do so, the bright lights of Diwali will continue to be the right of a privileged few.

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