Friday, October 31, 2008


The Day of Pollution

I have never been a fan of fire-crackers. As long as I can remember I have disliked all sorts of loud-sounding chocolate bombs. As a matter of fact I have been afraid of them. Somehow they have always represented an atavistic, ultra-barbaric exposure of the malevolent subconscious. As a quiet and (somewhat cowardly perhaps) peace-loving man I have always looked at the days of Kali Puja and Deepavali with apprehension. Whereas Deepavali the festival of lights has always fascinated me, the noise and the tendency of throwing fire-crackers at people, vehicles and animals have repelled me. This Kali Pujo I was as usual homebound (keeping myself bound in my home), stepping out for the community thing only. If you have ever been in Kolkata then you will know what to expect on a day like this. Hundreds of people find themselves in hospitals with degrees of burn injuries, some self-inflicted, others mass-conflicted. And the air becomes unbearable. Throughout evening and night there is a thick layer of gunpowder smoke covering everything – this is not the T.S.Eliot yellow urban Prufrockish smoke – but the smoke of burning frustration released through petty acts of apparently harmless violence. I believe that in this one day we achieve as much pollution as in the rest of the year. I do not mean to be a spoilsport, but some sports should be spoiled. This is the evening when the fantastic amount of anti-legislative impulses (that we usually hide) comes out. There is a secret pleasure in using contraband, and contrary to all ban all kinds of minor explosives are used! Each year there are hundreds of arrests, yet people defy the law. The Law has become more of a challenge.

Right to Awaken

Recently there is an advertisement of some Tea Company that shows a few young boys distributing tea in a (cinema?) queue apparently trying to awaken the en-queued. When one lady finally protests saying she is awake, the main boy says “Election ka din agar up vote nehin de rahen hain to up so rahen hain” (“If you are not voting on the day of election then you are sleeping”). I guess it is very noble and awareness-provoking among the youngsters. But what they are missing is that all citizens have the right of not voting or canceling their votes. The attitude of the boys at the end of the advertisement presents a very disturbing face, a face of being ultra-self-righteousness that brings in all the extremes in a person. It also shows the coercive face of Indian politics. No one should tell us whether we should vote or not vote.


ugich konitari said...

Why this one day ? A minor functionary of a sidey party wins a doubtful election and a long chain of firecrackers is burst irrespective of the noise and air pollution, next to a hospital where patients lie helplessly.

A look down from your balcony shows you the culprits through an intense haze of explosive pollution. But everyone is so caught up in "showing off" their "joy" with all kinds of exhibitionism, and to hell with the consequences.

A ver timely post. Thank you.

Sayani said...

well i really agree with Ugich ...
very obvious of the fact we have lost the true meaning of "joy"

gr8 sensible and sense evoking post ...keep them coming :)

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Our dog Lalu (no political affiliations, though) would whole-heartedly agree with a ban on fire crackers; he spends most of the Diwali onslaught cowering under the bed. As a dog-lover, (and with dog-lovers-in-law galore)I also agree with you, though, since the time of Pagla Dashu, I've a sneaking fondness for kalipotka.

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