This Diwali was a bit low profile for me but the post-Diwali fare has left me breathless.
No new clothes - Ok
No sweets - Ok
No guests - Ok
Sparse greetings - Ok
The day after Diwali was a ‘holocaust’ to face with my already crooked nose refusing to inhale. The smog that engulfed Delhi and NCR was like bonfires lit everywhere. Administration was left clueless and people with weak lungs looked listless.
Dad was right
Not very long ago when he was living with us he would get petrified much before Diwali over the over indulgence of over burning crackers for the sound and light effects. He was asthmatic so he covered a thin muslin cloth over his mouth and nose and drew the piece around the back of his head to cover his ears adequately .My son called him a dacoit who was afraid of crackers.
‘Why don’t these fellows burn crackers in their toilets?’ dad blares out.
I would pacify him by saying ‘Dad the toilet is for different sound effects during and after Diwali’
He would caution my son from burning crackers in the balcony or anywhere near the house. All the children in our building looked like persecuted Jews running helter-skelter to move away from small time Hitler.
Woes of Delhiites
Woeful and doughful they are more mobile during festivities to give and take boxes(goodies), eat forbidden delicacies and spin around in newer cars with wider smiles to all and sundry. In short everything gets illumined under the lustreless lights. I call it ‘lustreless’ because the entire body language gets inverted from ill-fitting clothes to new fitting ones, men and women decked up in finery to show all is well with us.
Children, young ones and grown ups move in and out of the house to light a few crackers as if it’s Baghdad or Syria or Mosul. I am referring to the size of crackers now. No bad intentions, the fireworks were heavy to complement the neighbours’ revelry (envy) used intermittently. ‘Ha Ha!’ you can laugh. Not exactly infectious but a few seconds later the echo of such laughter is heard repeatedly in the neighborhood. All safe!
No Smoke without fire?!
Lo! Behold! Praise the war ridden nations that do not inhale so much smoke after bombardment. They eat it only for meals to console their stomachs.
Delhi had less noise this year but all felt an unending terror of smoke. Blame the cracker (fireworks) industry doling out fake products? More toxic air entered the lungs and the smog did not let you to look up to heaven for help. All withered souls looked morose.
The weekend smog lingered throughout for more than a week, so schools were shut. Poorly fuelled and maintained vehicles that spinned around during Diwali, in and out of lanes and borders, added to the smog. An unexpected jail break in central India kept the police on toes. Most of them (police) looking haggard and out of spirits. What spirit? Festive spirits trailing downwards or maybe I am growing older.
(At the outset let me tell you my heart goes out for the bread winner who is honest)
Then came a weekend that brought the pulse rate down when black money was attacked in our country and also miserably coincided with the US elections leading to unforeseen results. Well I am not digressing, then came the historical turnaround of those spinning currency notes of 500 and 1000 that got demonetized by the government. Crooks at all levels got perplexed who normally sleep over moneyed mattresses. My neighbor is annoyed with this government decision terming it ‘bad’. So I (not me)must show solidarity and the fever caught up. Verbal explosives were flung in all directions , hotter than all fireworks.
Money Laundering week
The entire week is being devoted for laundering money but the exchange of new notes for old ones is making even lethargic people stir out to get necessities for the hearth. The intention is to sweep out/clean the ‘black’ currency from dingy lockers to see light and brighten the currency status. A good intention no doubt but “Asuras” live everywhere from Swiss bank account holders to Gold brick owners( Read it in John Grisham’s Novel) investing in the deep Carribean sea. They are stealthy and mobile to thwart any bright ray to fall on their wealth but prefer to let it remain in the dark rich dens of wealth.
The Autumnal equinox is faraway but winter already looks greyer, and sombre for those who dabble with cash the shady way. Laundering is mandatory but along the right avenues , you guess what it means & not to let the devil always win. My laundry awaits in the washing machine, bye, Sleep well.