Diwali is the quintessence of utmost happiness and sheer rejuvenation. However as an adult, we might now see it just as a day off from our hectic schedules and tedium which we all go through everyday. But, if we take a moment to contemplate about this festival as a kid, it’s still a festival that brings not only sweets and gifts, it brings the joys and incessant fun with family and friends to cherish for months.
Plunging into the reminisces of my childhood, as a kid Diwali meant only fun for me – the crackers which would require lots of relentless attempts to pester my father even if he would rebuke, the alacrity for the crackers would never wane. From the month of September after Dussehra, I would dream for meeting my cousins, wearing new clothes, sharing how many packets of crackers, bombs, and sparklers we got, and then toiling to hide them in the house so that nobody could find them till Diwali night. The ardor for celebrating Diwali would flare within me ever since my parents would start cleaning and brushing the walls with new colors. Seeing him painting the walls would entice me to have that fun, although knowing the fact I would only mess up, convincing my father to give me his brush for even a minute was absolutely not less than a brave feat. However, I could never manage to lend my hand in that perky work.
Wading through memories, I remember the day before Diwali– my father would bring a box of crackers, sparklers and anaars, and then distribute equitably amongst all the kids in the family including my zealous sisters. Yet, the younger one would always get extra packets that’s the rule. It was certainly a perk at that time. But, the challenge was to save them from elders. And sadly, I always failed in this case, and then that’s what I did with my younger ones.
The aroma of sweets pervading the entire house would invite all of us to sneak into the kitchen and secretly steal few Gujiya and rasgullas, not afraid of mum’s loud reprimands. Meandering through the rooms to verandahs, stepping upon outworn mats, and crumpled papers, I would check my crackers every minute, and find few sparklers missing. The cackling of my sisters seeing me delirious about my lost crackers would divulge the truth, still it was never appropriate to rebel against them.
The fervor of waiting to see what papa would buy for Dhanteras, and checking the things he would bring along with a silver coin, would gladden every kid at that time. It was a sense of incomparable honor to get permission to check everything meticulously– the Laxmi, Ganesha idols, and Kuver Yantra, vermilion, traditional puffed rice along with small balls made of sugar and a box of entangled lights.
It used to be a different kind of feat to convince my father to let me burst crackers without any help of my siblings, whenever I would try to persuade him for this, he would hand over some sparklers and pop pops to me and say Enjoy. What a disappointment it was! The joy of seeing my cousins and uncles lighting the fuses of crackers, would make me cavort and cover my ears simultaneously. The fear in mouth squinting the smoking cracker, striding across the road to witness the loud explosion of bombs, I would stand there to cheer up along with my cousins. I would always enjoy lighting up the anaars gingerly, and joyously watching the lustrous fountain of red, golden, silver stars soaring up towards the dark starless sky that would elicit the beautiful smiles from all of us. The joys would continue unabated. The eyes would gleam with delight. These were the days of utmost happiness and fun.
The loud roar of big rockers shooting across the sky in the vicinity, the scintillating walls of all houses laden golden, red and blue lights, the sparklers in the hands of scared kids, the notorious boys wielding their toys guns and laughing teasing their younger ones with crackers. Ferreting out unburst crackers in the debris the next day would be a perk. It was all mesmerizing in the era when there was no internet and environmental activism.
The Laxmi puja would bring all members in the temple to worship the Goddess of wealth for prosperity and affluence. Seeking blessings from grandparents, uncles, parents, and all elders by touching their feet, and getting their canoodling pats would make me feel amazing as a kid. It still does. The diyas kept in all rooms, and corners of the house would engulf all negativity, and pervade the sense of freshness, invigorating the ambience of the entire place, rejuvenating all people. I would friskily snuff some diyas to replenish them with oil again so that I could watch them flickering all night. The lights exquisitely decked on the roof dangling from the parapet would wink whole night, emanating the positivity for us to absorb.
These memories are etched in my mind, as fresh as they were years ago, gladdening me to smile even now. I feel plumb exhilarated reminiscing the childhood fun on Diwali night with cousins, siblings and friends in the vicinity. However, it is utterly disappointing to see environmental nonsense being disseminated unabated about Diwali, and pollution by occasional, self claimed environment lovers. They are suddenly environmentally active whenever a Hindu festival is approaching to sheen their activism. Now, this propaganda is certainly becoming malicious. Stopping Hindus and making them feel ashamed about their culture, festivals and rituals has become a mentality which is undoubtedly inane and detrimental. Snatching these joys and the fun from this generation which we had in our childhood without any ban on our festivals is absolutely preposterous and inappropriate. Banning fireworks is not only about crackers, it just feels like stifling the joys which Hindu festivals always bring along for people specially kids.
The govts that are enamored of appeasement politics attempt to ban the fireworks to tickle their beloved communities, attributing this ban to pollution, in order to avoid any kind of outrage from Hindus. This mentality is digging into our minds, making us question why crackers are important on Diwali. Let me elucidate that, it’s an experiment to cut such rituals one by one from our festivals, which will definitely maime our culture. They want to sound so woke, talking about pollution on Diwali. While lolling in their air-conditioned rooms, they lecture on environment and say No kid should burst crackers. It is absolutely a glimpse of filthy minds that want to prevent children from rejoicing the festival of lights and joys. We must act against this mentality which is willing to eat our happiness, culture and most importantly our identity. Children are meant to have all the revelries, fervor and passion for our festivals without any shame or qualm which is incessantly fed by liberals and insane, unemployed, selfclaimed environmentalists.
If killing thousands of animals on eid, the fireworks on Christmas don’t bother these people, the 2 hour celebration on Diwali is completely not their concern, their problem is Hinduism, This civilization which waded through Islamic brutality, then colonial cruelties, is what they can’t digest. Therefore, this must be a main purpose of every Hindu in the family to make the kids elated for bursting crackers, twirling pleasantly and indulging in religious traditions and feeling proud of this exquisite Hindu culture. So that all sly attempts to throttle our festivals and our vigor will be brilliantly thwarted. It’s truly a necessity of the time to understand that It’s fully in our hands to protect our culture and celebrate for centuries like our ancestors. This Diwali a strong message must be sent to such lobby which is lurking to tarnish our festivals, that our festivals aren’t a chance of any activism, our festivals are only for celebrating our culture fervently and unapologetically.