Vantage point

Monday, November 04, 2002

Diwali/Deepawali translates as "Festival of Lights", but of late, with the over-emphasis on crackers it seems more like a "Dhwanawali", the festival of sounds. The deafening sounds of crackers bursting all around are what one seems to associate Diwali more with, rather than the numerous kaleidoscopic lamps and diyas.

IIM, however is on the outskirts of Lucknow city and the incessant buildup for Diwali using crackers has not made itself felt here. All the 12 hostels were looking amazing. We had decorated our's (Hostel 11) with small diyas on every balcony and ledge, and the natural geometry of the hostel building made the entire effect dazzling. There were also the customary rolling lights at the entrance. Finally, when the results were announced, our efforts were rewarded with a 2nd place, and a 3,000 rupees cash prize. This was celebrated with sweets and fireworks in the hostel.

There are numerous reasons(like sound pollution, air pollution and child labour) why I dislike crackers. I remember I used to love them till I was 13. Then that year, a devastating earthquake shook parts of Maharashtra (epicentre Killari), and all my friends decided not to burst crackers but to donate the money to the earthquake relief fund. That year, my Diwali was so much more serene, without the noxious fumes playing around my nostrils. Ever since then, I never felt the need to buy any crackers. I enjoy the light displays and the playful dance of the diya flame.

This year, inspite of the late night sound-revelry by the guys in the hostel, Diwali was, by and large a festival of lights for me.

Looking forward to it next year.