While driving back from work this evening I noticed that most shops along the way are all lit up and decorated well for the festive season. It hit me that Diwali is just around the corner. I don’t know when but somewhere along the way I had a random thought of convincing my kids to celebrate Diwali without bursting firecrackers this year. Absolutely no firecrackers. Not even a sparkler.
Since when did this festival of lights turn into a festival of noise and air pollution. Don’t we have enough pollution around us already? I’ve heard some TED talks in which they say this might be the last century for our species. It’s shocking. We’ve already polluted our environment enough to cause global warming and that it’s too late now to stop the impending catastrophe.
What’s so macho anyway about bursting crackers anyway? Hundreds maybe thousands of kids work long hours without food or toilet breaks to churn out firecrackers in the Sivakasi factories. They get killed or maimed due to lack of safety regulations when there are fires or explosions in those factories. Is this the way the festival was meant to be celebrated?
I don’t want my kids to associate Diwali with the noisy firecrackers and pollution. I want them to have fond memories of celebrating Diwali the way it was meant to be celebrated.
When I reached home I had a conversation with my kids (aged 3 and 8) about my idea. It ended up being an easy sell somehow. May be the bribe of a gift of their choice for giving up firecrackers helped ease it through :-) So this year we’ll be donating some books and clothes to under-privileged kids. We’ll light lamps around our house. We’ll draw up a rangoli outside our door. The elder one volunteered to to attempt making an Indian sweet dish.
They said they’ll try convincing their friends to try giving up firecrackers too this Diwali.
Just because it has been done like this for years doesn’t make it right. Don’t follow the herd. Think and do the right thing.
My kids got convinced to do the right thing, what about you?
Update: On Sunday we went ahead and donated the stuff at St. Catherine’s Home, which is an orphanage located on Veera Desai Road in Andheri West, Mumbai. When we reached there the Sisters were kind enough to explain their concept & vision and give us a tour of the facilities. The facility is divided into various cottages. They have a massive campus which is kept tidy and cared for. They also have the facilities to take care of HIV+ kids. The Sisters also told us of success stories of kids who’ve now grown up and moved on and are successful in life. Visiting the orphanage was a leveling experience.