Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
When I was in class third, on Diwali, we had an accident at home. My father got his right hand injured because of a cracker. Although there was some mistake from his side as well but that smash happened in front of me. Next two months were really very difficult to my parents. Because my father’s right hand was hurt, he was not able to work on even his basic body needs. Everything was done by my mother, from making him bath to feeding him, from helping him wear his office clothes to tying his shoe laces. As my mother was all busy with my father and rest of the times in completing her chores, she used to give me and my sister less attention. That was the first year of my life when I came to know that crackers can take one’s life. And I heard everyone saying “Chalo bas hath me hi problem hai…” I was 8 years old and tall his made me hate this festival which had given my parents such an incalculable trouble. I used to think why people make, buy and burst crackers which can play with people’s life!
Since then we (me and my sister) never celebrated Diwali in much excitement. Although, my parents used to buy us new clothes on every Diwali but we never looked forward Diwali for fun. I used to get angry when kids of my colony used to start bursting crackers on the road which was just in front of my house. The boil of my anger made me go outside and yell at those kids who were bursting crackers near my house. Diwali evening used to be boring for us (me and my sister) because we used to have nothing to do after pooja. Then after few years, we started asking our father to give us the nearly equal amount of money which kids of our age used to waste in buying crackers. And we sisters used to spend that money in getting CDs of new movies for enjoying them on Diwali evening. When my schoolmates shared how many crackers they busted, I used to argue them counting the side effects of bursting crackers. This way, from childhood to my unmarried life, I never liked Diwali and even abhor this festival for how it is being celebrated.
After I got married, on my first Diwali at my in-law’s place, I saw the whole festival with a different angle. We did the pooja and then started a series of taking blessing from everyone in our joint family. I was so busy in eating sweets and meeting everyone that I didn’t notice kids were bursting crackers outside. Then my sister-in-law said to me, ”Shipra, let's go and enjoy sparklers outside.” I made my face but couldn’t deny her. We both went outside and lit sparklers. My niece was so happy to see those colors and lights. Although it was in my hand, but the smile on her face made me realize that not everything about Diwali is bad. Kids love sparklers and crackers. And in my own shell, I could never accept and appreciate it until that day.
Because of my own experience, which was bad, I always criticized the celebration of this festival. But now my perception has changed. Although I still believe Diwali is a festival of lights, not noise. Whether we should burst crackers or not, is a separate topic of debate but now I am not completely against of bursting crackers. A limited amount of cracker busting in presence of parents or any other responsible person seems okay to me. Most importantly I now believe Diwali celebration is the blissful feeling about being together and having a good time with family. It is way to bring smiles on faces and making the world luminous with lights and diyas. Rituals are secondary and firecrackers are tertiary, of course!