Sights, Sound and Safety on Diwali Day
Diwali is celebrated for various reasons--both religious and mythological. Some claim that the day is marked in honor of the defeat of the evil demon Narakasura, while others claims that Diwali symbolizes the victory of King Rama over the Lankan king Ravana and the former's return to Ayodhya .
Over all this "festival of lights" signifies the triumph of good over evil and gives us all reason enough to celebrate ! It is a hallmark of "Indian ness", as it is celebrated with great gusto across the length and breadth of the country and across the world wherever you have Indians.
During the season there is a splash of vibrant colors as each household is artfully decorated with beautiful "diya"s, as the Indian sky is aglow with fascinating fireworks and as anyone who can afford is dressed to kill.
No celebration is complete without sweets. It is impossible to walk through by-lanes without enjoying the aroma wafting from every home, of traditional sweets being freshly prepared.
But as the saying goes, there are two sides to every proverbial coin and Diwali is no exception.
Consumerism is at its heady best during Diwali. Products of every kind are being displayed in a way that is designed to lure even the most reluctant of customers. The ludicrous splurge seen across the land challenges the stark truth that a sizeable population of India lives in poverty, deprived of three square meals, basic amenities and primary education--- which also happens to be their basic rights !!
Gluttonous buying sprees make mockery of the poor's plight !
Firecrackers are burst with great fervor all through the week . Gentle sparklers and rockets bring joy to children while the teens and the adults vie with each other to burst the bigger, and therefore louder, crackers. This activity no doubt ushers in glee but the air pollution that the crackers cause can traumatize asthma patients for days.
The noise pollution caused by loud crackers can be extremely distressing for the feeble -hearted, elderly and pets. It can even prove to be fatal for some.
Fire-work related accidents are common during Diwali. Infrastructure and emergency set-up is mediocre in many parts of the country and this adds to the general disdain.
Sweetmeats, savories and a mind-blowing array of delicacies are much sought -after during the season. Almost all these sweets and savories are made with ghee and other fatty variants. In a country which is now being labeled as the "diabetic capital of the world" and where lifestyle diseases are on a steady rise, it would be prudent to exercise retrain while consuming Diwali goodies.
Tips for a Safe and Happy Diwali --
· Burst those crackers in moderation if you really have to, but play it safe. Keep the crackers at a distance while bursting.
· While bursting crackers, avoid wearing silk or synthetic clothes. Also keep a bucket of water nearby should an accident occur.
· Keep the phone numbers of emergency services ready at hand
· Make sure that children play with crackers only under adult supervision.
· Eat sweets and savories in moderation to avoid health-related complications such as heart-burn and indigestion
· Keep emergency medications always at hand
Diwali is a celebration of 'the good' scoring over the 'not-so-good' ...! Enjoy a safe and happy Diwali keeping in mind the well -being of your family, friends, neighbors, the less- fortunate and pets!