Monday, 8 September 2008

Celebrate do not irritate

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Do we need to irritate others to celebrate? This is the thought that strikes me every year festive season breaks loose in India. India is the land of festivals. Other countries may have a festival or two but we have a season of festivals or rather should I say a festival for every reason and season. I am ok with public celebration of festivals but this right to celebrate does not mean a licence to decimate others peace of mind for days. Raising decibel and pollution levels does not mean celebration. Most people are vexed with this celebration but don’t come out in open due to fear of social ridicule and isolation. God can be appeased in a subtle and less torturous manner.

Our festival season kicked off with Ganesh Puja. This Saturday I was walking down the road when four consecutive road crossings blocked with Ganesh Pandals came to my notice. I am not against each cross having its own puja but the following questions impaled my mind; Is it justified to block for days entrance to a road by a Pandal? What about a student or a BPO employee who cannot sleep for days? How will an ambulance reach a patient given that the rear entry route is atleast a kilometer of narrowest roads? Are the raunchy film songs played in the Pandals not an insult and intimidation to the bachelor God Ganesha? Is it necessary to contaminate the ground water with lead paint when clay Ganesha would do (after all Ganesha never insisted to be painted in multi-color)? These questions are equally applicable to any religious/regional function which is more of irritation than a celebration.

Deepavali means chaos at its best. The race to be the first “cracker breaker” spoils the sleep of most on an otherwise colorful day. Nowadays, every festival and any festival, bursting of crackers are obligatory. The cracker that the Government bans as being unsafe becomes the most popular. Timings specified for bursting crackers are meant to be broken or else there is no point in celebrating a festival. Rockets which can such have a damming effect on the electric wires are such a darling. The most dangerous cracker is the 1000wallahs and the increased variations. Nobody has a right to make the roads a potential minefield for a few minutes of cheap thrill. What happens if an ambulance has to pass through and one of the 1000wallah variations has been set off? Why does not the Government ban this type of crackers and strictly implement the same? The Honorable Health Minister would do well to take care of citizen health during this Diwali rather than crazily going ahead to implement a no smoking ban. We have to worry about stopping terrorists from smoking bombs, not stop ordinary citizens from smoking in public places? I would like to clarify that I am a non-smoker

I stay in Indiranagar 2nd stage portion of Bangalore. Every year Shivarathri is celebrated in a nearby Eshwara festival. Despite being an atheist, I love the way it is organized and anticipate every year for Shivaratri to come. Music is played at acceptable volumes; the programmes and songs played are appropriate of a religious function and most importantly the organizers pull the curtains sharp at 10pm and the entire pandal is cleared within 15 to 20 minutes. When a festival is celebrated in public, there will be certain inconvenience. As stated earlier, we are a country of festivals and such inconvenience is a part of enjoyment but the vulgar way in which such public celebrations are organized makes it a source of irritation. I only hope the same sanity that is part of the Shivarathri celebrations in my locality prevails across the country.

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