Saturday, October 17, 2009

Diwali without sparks, but doesn't miss the mark

It is nearly 7 years since I celebrated my last Diwali at "home". Running down the memory lane, Diwali always has been very special. Getting up very early in the morning, taking an oil bath, wearing brand new dresses, day full of delicious food, special occasion sweets/savories, oh... how can I forget the smell and sound of crackers. In fact, on the day of Diwali, most of us are woken up only by the sound of the crackers. As a kid, I never had a proper sleep on the day before Diwali. Primarily because of the curiosity/excitement and partly because people start to fire high sounding crackers very early in the morning. I'm sure this is not a one-off experience. Many of you would've had a similar experience during your childhood.

Things have changed drastically over the last several years. Today, I was waiting for the cracker noise to wake me up. But, I didn't hear any cracker sound until 7 am in the morning. So, I was very disappointed. Later, I learned that there is a rule not to fire crackers between 10 pm - 6 am. My mom/wife have been literally living in the kitchen for the last 2 days, preparing lots of delicious food, non-stop.

Chennai is now very different from the Madras that I saw, growing up. There are not THAT many shops selling crackers. People (at least the educated), are more aware of the impacts of bursting crackers. Hearing repeatedly about global warming & climate changes in TV/Radio & News, people to some extent, have minimized the bursting of crackers. Moreover, TV channels are competing with each other to glue their audience to the couch by broadcasting 'highly tempting' programs. People don't even mind the non-stop advertisements. Almost all the TV channels are broadcasting 'thiraiikku vandhu sila madhangaleay aana" kind movies (i.e., very recent movies). In another 20 years or so, I believe people will almost drop the habit of bursting crackers on the Diwali day.

Diwali is still comparable to Christmas celebrations in US. Diwali creates a busy shopping season. Shops are offering deep discounts to attract buyers during the tough times. People spend a lot of money on dresses, house hold items, gold etc., There are new movies released during Diwali (Aadhavan from Suriya & Peranmai from Jeyam Ravi).

Overall, it is wonderful to celebrate Diwali in India. It gives an opportunity to call friends/relatives, whom we haven't touch based for a long time. It gives an opportunity for us to exchange sweets with neighbors. It also, brings lots of excitement to kids. In simple words, Diwali is fun ... fun... nothing but fun.

Also read:

Ganesh Chathurthi in India

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