Imagine a Diwali away from home in a lonely place called Surat, where in you have never ever stayed away from home for the biggest festival of India. Sounds lonely, isn’t it! But imagine a Diwali, the biggest festival in India with some of the nicest people, good friends and awesome colleagues around (read Onkar Singh, Ankit Shukla, Sujoy Das and Mohit Kamra),

dosen’t it sound great. Well I had this awesomest Diwali experience this time, when my work forced me to spend my Diwali in Surat, away from home with none of my family members around. This is post is nothing but a manifestation of my experience of Diwali 2010. If I would have posted this post on confluence a year ago, I would have had to face music from Gaurav and Deval, but since now I own this site and also people do not visit this site any more with the same enthusiasm as before, I don’t think I will have any issues with this post being put up on confluence. Anyway it was always about giving your idea a stage, if people were interested in it or not has always been a different issue and totally upon the people.

In more than one ways, this Diwali was very abnormal for me. The first thing was being away from home during the one time everyone is home. But add to the list having no restrictions, bursting firecrackers on the footpath with traffic on both sides, getting involved in a rocket fight with the other side of the road with some completely unknown people as my teammates and then being in the crossfire of the same war, standing on the footpath watching the expensive crackers light up the night sky as if it were a firecracker show, bursting firecrackers at 12 am after everyone has slept just to wake them up make the abnormal sound above normal. This once this abnormality was actually above normality for me.

But with this Diwali experience I realized one thing about the surti public. These people are totally insane and got no sense of shame. Normally it sounds bad, but don’t forget here everything is abnormal. Why else would anyone come lock their homes and come out on the streets just to light their firecrackers. Why else would anyone light a rocket horizontal instead of vertically, with its direction towards the other side of the road. Why else would anyone buy a “4000 ki ladi”, tie it to their bikes and light it up while the bike moves on the road full speed in full traffic. If you can imagine it was quiet a stunt. Why else would anyone burst their crackers right in front of the shop where they bought it (this one thing we did too…the madness had to get us..we could not escape it :P).

 Yet such kind of mindless behavior, though good sometimes, may not be good at all times, and in some cases even harmful to others. What we need to think is that why do we need to have fun at the cost of others’ safety. Why can’t we devise some harmless ways of having fun? Why do we need to blow up huge amounts of money in fire crackers also at the same time affecting our health, others’ health and also damaging the environment, just to have fun? Yes that feeling of joy comes in our hearts when the sky lights up. No doubt about it. But is it worth it? If everyone just donated the money they burn in crackers for nothing but a mere show of spectacle, India would become a lot better place. But some mentalities are not easy to change. Some traditions are hard to give up. After all it is these fireworks that make us unique. Also the very large industry making these very fireworks provides employment to a lot of people. Yes there is a problem of child labour, but if we stop buying these firecrackers, we would then though prevent a lot of fires, save lot of children from getting their childhoods spoilt, also give rise to unemployment, which is also a big problem in a country like India. But it is not that we cannot do something about it. Buy firecrackers, but see to it that they are not made by children. Try and burst only such crackers which pollute as least as possible. Donate some amount of what you blow in fire crackers as charity. Try and make Diwali a festival of joy for all, not just for some who can pay money for it.

And above all, please don’t have fun with firecrackers at the expense of others. Don’t be an incendiary, just for the fun of it. Be responsible and behave responsibly when you light firecrackers. Who knows today you are having fun, tomorrow someone else will be having fun while you burn. For the next year,