Monday, November 15, 2010

(H/Cr)appy Holidays !

"Incoming !" yelled the guy next to me as we ducked just in time to see a rocket whizz past us and crash into the wall. I was picking myself up while dusting off all the dirt on my clothes when the world stopped for a moment. BOOM ! An explosion that was loud enough to get my ears ringing all over again. "This is not good" I muttered to myself as I regained my temporarily lost senses and tried to gauge what was happening. Rat-tat-tat-tat. The sound of gunfire. No point in ducking this time. More explosions. My ears were taking a battering by now and crying for some relief. I looked up and saw another rocket take off and burst into a gay riot of colours. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, not to a battlefield, but to India celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights.

Call me old fashioned or boring but I prefer the type of Diwali which involves lighting of diyas and sharing of sweets and the sensible use of fireworks. Fireworks that do not include bombs (the deafness inducing firework) that will wake even the dead from their eternal rest or the 10,000 (a headache inducing type of firework that has 10,000 individual crackers that go off one by one). Give me a fountain, sparklers and the crazy spinning fireworks any day which make hardly any noise and don’t cause the dogs to head for cover.

Which got me thinking, has the true essence of festivals been lost in India? No longer do people want to head home and spend quality time with their families for the holidays. Instead people seem to look forward to the holidays only because discounts are available everywhere. When did this commercialization take over? Whatever happened to being happy and hence nice to others during the holiday season?

Take for example the situation every Christmas. Roads are clogged as last minute shoppers are on the hunt for stars and decorations. In the ensuring traffic jams, people stick to the whole season of giving mentality by giving each other the bird accompanied by a healthy dose of abuses as they jostle for real estate on our roads. During Diwali, people take over our roads to burst crackers (often late into the night) while not giving two hoots about pedestrians or commuters. I remember seeing an old man fall off his cycle because he was struck by a rocket that was set off by a boy who was placing them parallel to the ground and lighting them instead of pointing them to the sky.

How about it people? Why not take a small little vow to be more responsible and thoughtful the next time the holidays come around? Spread the word. That way I won’t have to jump behind the nearest tree every time a dimwit kid fires off a rocket at me. And considering that I’m losing more and more of my hearing with each passing Diwali, the next time it happens I just may not hear the shout of “Incoming!”

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