Thursday, October 24, 2013

Festive recklessness: (Spare a thought)!

“Amma, am sorry I am late for work today, I had an emergency at home,” said my maid with a troubled –voice, a few days ago. When I inquired what went wrong, she told me that she had to rush her 8-year old daughter to the hospital as she hurt herself whilst playing with crackers. Even worse, her daughter’s eyeball was injured and was not sure if this would affect her vision until they administered a few eye-drops and performed a few tests. She sounded helpless, and so was I. A big Thank you to the Lord that her daughter is now out of danger; which the ophthalmologist confirmed a day later. A sigh of relief. Nonetheless, how the maid’s family, especially her daughter, would have felt for the full length of 24 hours, is certainly beyond imagination. Welcome home, Diwali! To this family, real celebration would now mean that her daughter’s vision was not endangered, true luminary delight!

Deepavali in quintessence is a festival of lights. Deepa translates into light and vali meaning a row; even simpler, a row of lights it is. There sure are multi-various ways of celebrating this nation-wide festival; it means different things to different families in this Indian-multi-cultural-sub continent. Fire crackers certainly contribute to most of the excitement, people belonging to various age groups equally love to revel in this resounding glory. Fire crackers symbolize the driving away of evil spirits; while in the north it is to denote the return of Lord Rama from his 14-year exile, in the south it is about Lord Krishna killing the demon, Narakasura. The mythological rationale behind this could be anything, yet it’s time that we as a nation, took the time out to spare a thought on how these fire crackers could cause festive recklessness. Keeping decibel levels low so that birds and animals are not affected and pollution to be kept under check, are some tidbits that I read about and listen to each year around this time in the print and electronic media. Well, I know not how many would actually want to spare a thought about the fellow living creatures on the planet; yet a thought that we could ponder over and action stringently, could be over how the fire crackers could be used so as to save fellow human beings! That should make the thinking easier.

The West is aped for reasons aplenty, most of the times for some trivia. If there is something we could imbibe from the West and make our celebration a delightful experience, it would be that of using the fire crackers wisely and most of all, with something in their upper-storey. They have fire-cracker bursting sessions too, however they are controlled ones that do not endanger public lives. Every town or county has a common area that is earmarked for this purpose; that makes life less scary and peaceful during the festive season; rather than having to run the risk of getting hurt by a random cracker that is thrown up in the air on the street side.

We may have read or heard umpteen number of posts or news-bits on safety tips during Deepavali; yet not many realise the havoc that uncontrolled fire-cracker bursting sessions can wreck. While fire-crackers are just one of the many ways of celebrating the joy of Deepavali each year, the flip side to it is, to see a lovely row of lamps, beckoning Goddess Lakshmi home.

Wishing you all a happy and safe Deepavali.

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