Do We Really Need To Drive All Of India Deaf?

Pollution free Diwali
Image used for representation only.

This column, dear reader, is about a topic that I have written about in the recent past. It is a theme I have touched upon, it is a well I have drawn from, it is ground we have tread before.

But hey, I can’t help it if it JUST DOESN’T STOP RAINING.

We are now in the last week of October. Winter equinox is all but upon us. Diwali is upon us, but instead of the sparkle of fireworks and the gentle flickering light of a thousand diyas, we have squelching socks and rain soaked clothes.

It is, by common consensus, the wettest Diwali in living memory.

But hey, there is, this time around, a silver lining to – forgive the pun – this rather dark cloud. 

How, I ask you, is it going to be possible to have firecrackers going off in what is clearly Noah’s Ark territory?

I don’t know if I have touched upon this topic before, and I do not know how you feel about it yourself, but I would be perfectly happy if I spent the rest of my life without meeting another firecracker. Can’t stand the damn things.

There are many things that puzzle me about firecrackers, especially during Diwali. Their primary function, best as I can tell, is to emanate a lot of smoke, and even more noise. Noise, upon reflection, is an understatement.

There is a cacophony, a racket, an incessant din that descends on the city during Diwali, one that tears apart eardrums and destroys the very soul of Diwali.

Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of it all is the fact that Diwali as – as the name itself suggests – all about light. It is not, as I have been prone to saying during Diwali, Awaazali. Ayodhya was plunged in darkness when Lord Ram wasn’t around – they didn’t have mute buttons back then.

So why do we celebrate his return to Ayodhya by driving all of India deaf?

The other aspects of Diwali, by the way, I can’t get enough of. New clothes, the comforting light of lots of small diyas, the spick and span houses, and above all, the food. Throw in the drinking, the late night card playing sessions and the exchanging of seemingly endless gifts – I’m down with all of that. No arguments whatsoever. 

But firecrackers? No sir, thank you very much, I’ll pass.

And the worst of it is always reserved for the last. There will always be at least three or four individuals, who at the very fag end of the blow-everything-up session will bring out a firecracker long enough to put entire armies of pythons to shame. This will be lit up, and the din will last until the end of eternity. 

And so, as I was saying, there is at least that scant solace this time around. Sure it is raining, and it seems as if it will never stop.

But on the other hand, it will be a quiet Diwali, and that, I suppose, is a bargain I’ll settle for.



Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni