Diwali and Crackers

Today is Diwali Festival in India – the “festival of lights”, when “good wins over evil”. It is the main festival when almost the entire country is bedecked with lights and one can hear the sound of fire crackers right through the day (thankfully not late in the night as crackers have been banned after 10 PM). People go to temples for worship and eat sweets and savouries.

I am writing this post because this is the first Diwali when the family decided against the use of crackers and I thought it was hugely important, especially in a conservative setting. We have not been big fans of the noise, fire and pollution caused by crackers, but we have always chosen to join other families in the common ground area to burst at least some crackers and light up flower pots, et al.

But not any more. The reason for this decision landed on us from none other than our son who is 12 years old. He said that he wanted a green planet and hated pollution – no surprise given that Mumbai is one of the most polluted cities in India even otherwise (without the additional benefit of crackers !). I thought it was rather unique he should say such things, may be thanks to his school teaching him about the impact of pollution on our planet.

So, we actually decided not to purchase any crackers and not even to burst any even if our neighbours called us to join.

It is probably going to be fun watching others bursting fire crackers from a distance, and it is going to be a first for all of us in the family !

Of course, this ban did not extend to the purchase of some sweets to celebrate Diwali – we bought quite a bit yesterday for distribution to our car driver, maids, security guards at our place, etc.,

The key point that we noted today is that the sound of crackers has been on a muted note around the place where we live, indicating that people are realizing the impact of pollution and are also affected seriously by inflation. Economic indicators in India do not look good despite all attempts by the government to revive the economy. Retail inflation in October hit 9.75% firmly revealing that interest rates won’t come down anytime soon. Whatever additional money people make this year is going to be eaten away by inflation.

Well, a lesson to seniors – avoid crackers and help reduce pollution. I dare not even walk on the road for the next day or so till the fumes and air clear up.

Wish you all A Happy Diwali and Festive Season !


Vijay Srinivasan
13th November 2012

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