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Diwali – Festival of lights… not pollution

It is that time of the year again… where ears and head hurt from non-stop noise, eyes itch from pollution, a persistent cough catches, animals cower in corners, fortunes are won and lost over cards.

Since 1995 I’ve witnessed how Diwali celebrations have evolved – 1st in Delhi and now in Mumbai for the last decade.

It is heartening to see the growing awareness around the environmental hazards, dangerous child labour practices and a movement towards ‘new ways’ to celebrate the Festival of Lights with less noise, pollution and waste.

Lovely combined Diwali gift & wedding thankyou

Lovely combined Diwali gift & wedding thankyou

Here is one of the many video’s circulating in an effort to promote a ‘Green’ Diwali.

And another that starts with a slow sweet evolution from a simple celebration to skyscraper excesses, interspersed by a snippet on the dangers children making firecrackers face, returning to a desire for a different kind of Diwali. Worth the 6+ mins to watch.

I don’t even want to know how bad the pollution gets – living in Mumbai is already like smoking a couple packs of cigarettes a day without a single deliberate drag!

Just how bad is it?

“Pollutants like particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide level rise 10 to 13 times on the day of the festival,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, the executive director of the Centre of Science and Environment.

“It takes close to a couple of weeks for the air pollution levels to get back to normal. This is the worst day for people suffering from asthma. Also, studies have shown that infants develop breathing disorders following the rise in air pollution levels on Diwali.” (Scroll’s “Five ways to celebrate a green Diwali“)

So here again is my Diwali wish – may you celebrate this Diwali with peace, light and joy with family and friends, avoiding excesses of all kinds, patakars and pollutants.

Happy Diwali!!

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9 Comments

  1. That sounds bad… I had no idea 😦

  2. TheLastWord says:

    Pity the pets. They have a tough time.

    The whole thing was becoming much less than it used to be. I do remember the idiot kid across the street would insist on firing rockets at our window; he had absolutely no sense of direction and no sensibilities at all. The worst kind of adult brat.

    I haven’t been in India for Diwali in 17 years and after my own famous accident back in the last century when I was 14 years old, I have a horror of any fire crackers.

    Diwali for us now in Canada consists of an uproarious dinner with lots of food and drink, then those interested head over to the large park 2-3 minutes away with a limited number of fireworks. I usually stay in and keep the drinks flowing for the people who don’t go (after I am the host..). It’s normally pretty nippy out this time of the year so they fireworks types are back pretty darn quickly.

    It is the time to play 3-card flush for money, drink oodles. I don’t gamble for money and can’t drink any more.

    hey, does this make me sound like a very boring person?

    I’m not really, honest.

    Happy Diwali!

    Peace, wealth and happiness!

    • It has improved immensely! This is the quietest Diwali yet… and still when we pulled out of our parking lot to last night, had to stop as some kids were lighting crackers at our gate blocking our exit.

      Sounds like you have done a marvellous job adapting the tradition to Canada. We used to have fun celebrating Diwali in Winnnipeg too – ours tended to be a late season barbeque, lots of food, friends and taught all the Canucks how to play ‘teen patti’ with the highlight of the evening taking those large birthday candle type sparklers and lighting them on the porch with a bunch of friends. NO firecrackers!

      As for not drinking – smart! As for not gambling – equally so! However can always play for poker chips if not money. 😉

      We had a late night card session at a friend’s home in Juhu – realised as we left it was past 4am – eeek!

      Happy Diwali and enjoy your Canadian Diwali traditions!!

      • TheLastWord says:

        teen patti – I have played it for money and always confused people because I played it so erratically they could never isolate what I had in my hand from my reaction. I only had patience to play it for about 10-15 mins, +/1 50 paise and then I would go away to have a drink and chat up the women, most of whom were not playing 🙂

        I’ll have to write up my story of The Great Diwali Accident one of these days.

        • We await with bated breath for your “Great Diwali Accident” tale 😉

          I remember playing for Rs 1 in Delhi in the mid-90s. Alas typical stakes are MUCH higher now!

          There was an attempt last night to introduce poker in one room.. didn’t take and our small teen patti table grew and grew until we moved into the BIG room to carry on… it was still in full swing!

          Enjoy your chilly Diwali… crazy to think of what’s happening in Ottawa at this time. Loss of an illusion…

          • TheLastWord says:

            Teen patti is properly played on mattresses on the floor 🙂

            Yeah Looks like North America has caught up completely with the rest if the world now. Very sad. My younger son in university there so there were some frantic calls between Mississauga, Saskatoon and Ottawa.

  3. Katherine says:

    Happy and healthy Diwali to you!

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