Saturday, 10 November 2007

Celebrating Diwali

Well, thank all the gods that Diwali is finally over for this year. What with overcrowded mithai shops, markets where shoppers cannot park their cars (this happened in the Kailash Colony market in South Delhi) massive traffic jams (on Wednesday because of Dhanteras) and nights when neighbours played with firecrackers into the wee hours--I've just had it with this festival. We even had the cops come by our neighbourhood to stop the firecrackers--this was around 1 a.m. last night! And you can just imagine how fresh the morning air must have been--what a boon to sufferers from asthma and every kind of respiratory ailment.

Evidently, the Mumbai cops have matters well in hand--310 people have been charged with bursting firecrackers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sensible, considering the fact that we're all talking about keeping the environment clean and avoiding noise pollution. I think that the time limit idea should be adopted in Delhi. I also think that people should burst crackers, not outside their homes or on the road, as they do nowadays, but in areas outside colonies and residential areas, as they do abroad. Better still, why don't our firecracker manufacturers invest in some R&D to develope crackers that produce less smoke? Or are they, like the CPI(M), waiting for Chinese manufacturers to steal a march on them? In any case, the firecracker-bursting fraternities of India should not buy their goods, since most firecracker manufacturers evidently prefer to invest in child labour and refuse to follow any kind of safety standards when setting up their factories. Maybe the money spent on firecrackers should be spent on schools that provide a mid-day meal scheme in poor rural areas? Think about it!

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I work as a freelance editor and writer in New Delhi. 


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