By: Kamal Baruah
At the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, the focus of Ayodhya’s Ram Temple has thrust India into the limelight. You can tell there is election in the air. Lakhs of lamps will be lit in Ayodhya. Amid such set-up, India celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness during this Diwali, the festival of light. It signifies the return of Lord Rama, along with Sita and Lakshmana, after defeating the demon king Ravana. As they returned, people in Ayodhya welcomed them by lighting rows of lamps.
Diwali marks the beginning of a new yearfor Gujarati people. One customary ritual people do is to clean homes andpaint their wallswhile offering prayers to the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi. In India, gold isn’t only an investment but also an auspicious symbol of wealth and prosperity, marking the Dhanteres, refers to 13th wealth or 13th day of the month of Kartik, a key element of festive rituals. It’s surprising, how India’s gold consumption typically peaks during this festival.
As time elapses, the festival of light turned into bursting firecrackers. India’s festival of noise is a public health crisis in the national capital. Why we shouldn’t prevent the production of toxic or too loud firecrackers? Technically speaking, eco-friendly green crackers significantly reduce emissions. To minimize air pollution, the apex court had banned the production and sale of all crackers except ‘green crackers’. Amid ban on crackers, Sivakasi stares a dark Diwali this year.
Interestingly, South Indian takes blessings from the elders by bursting the first crackers of the day. Peopleget firecrackers as Diwali gifts too. On the other hand, its explosive sounds and colorful displays have captured humans’ attention for centuries. The colours of hazard from those blazing reds to glittering greens, brilliant whites or blues might impact on our health, while Diwali is a nightmare for animals and birds. These are toxic smokes, irritating fumesfrom the chemical compounds of lithium, barium nitrate, aluminum, copper or Sulphur. Are green crackers a better alternative to traditional fireworks?
Ladoos and barfis are some of the mouthwatering tale of Diwali sweets across India. My SBI celebrates Diwali at my workplace by decorating with rangoli and my bags are filled with sweets, just enough to live on this Diwali. I was driving, albeit rather slowly home along the glittering skyline of the busy GS Road, promising to celebrate with the festival of light but not sound this time. Let diyas light up our home and illuminate its surrounding.
I saw a stream of heavy traffic causing Guwahati’s worst travel snarl-up for the evening. Meanwhile, cine-lovers of Raghav after Raghupati caused total stop at City Centre. Traffic choked, I was held up on the steering wheel for an hour and wondered at such state of disorder. I listened to “Hey Siri”. There what he was found, playing the Ram Dhun bhajan “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” for meon Shehnai by Ustad Bismillah Khan? The soulful music gently moves through the middle of my ear. All I can say is; I was enchanted that evening, ravished with pleasure by what I saw on the road.
The Diwali night was sparkling. I was wonderstruck at the dazzling lights that lit up the street markets all the way home. Hey it’s Deepavali tonight. Residents across India celebrate it by brightening earthen oil lamps along with the drawing Rangoli patterns for Diwali amid bursting green firecrackers. It’s truly an enchanting experience of Diwali night.