Now that Diwali is over and we get back to the humdrum of work and more work, recharged by the time spent with family, my ears are still buzzing with the sound of crackers and of those who complain that Diwali on a Sunday should be banned – The Monday morning blues look even darker, and the smog that covers the city does not help much. Diwali is the festival of lights, of good over evil, of family reunions and of renewal of ties. Every year we participate in a re-enactment of an ancient event, we are part of a large theatrical celebration; we welcome and pray for goodness, for peace, goodwill and prosperity – we welcome grace and give thanks. After our house cleaning symbolic of change and purification, after our puja we go out of our homes and do the most contrarian of things – We burst crackers like there is no tomorrow. And if we feign ignorance of pollution levels and continue to do the same there will be no tomorrow. Some more enlightened souls start the next afternoon again to get their fix of sulphur and smoke. Where is the logic of that?
Like any drama, life is never logical is it? Take any Hollywood blockbuster and you find the same elements playing out – An illogical element in a sane world that creates chaos that needs to be undone, usually by a hero that we are all rooting for. But who is the hero here? Who is it that can reverse the damage that we create year after year. WE ARE! Only we don’t realise it, yet. We are the only ones who can save ourselves. It’s great to hear schools taking the initiative, saying NO to crackers, saying NO to plastic bags, but then like the elders in the play we need to keep the learning in the home. And here is where things get a bit schizophrenic! In the marketplace I saw the big cars with the boot loads of crackers and as I drove out of the city I saw people collecting around their little temples, singing and celebrating and that made me wonder…
Leave alone the fact that half the factory workers at firework factories are children. Leave alone that a good number of them are maimed in the process or that a few die in the frequent factory fires. In a country where there is widespread poverty I am sure that the Gods will bestow more on people who think of their fellow man, who think of nature. Diwali marks Lord Rama’s return after his exile in the forests – He had spent 14 years with nature, living by its rules and norms. Would it not be fitting that we took a leaf out of the Ramayana and used Diwali as an opportunity to give back to nature rather than take from it?

Post filed under Musings.