New Delhi Diary – 1

Like many, I too make a resolution or two every year as the festive season is on and when Diwali, the ‘festival of lights’ is approaching. Many around the world make Christmas resolutions to themselves and even post them nowadays on social media. Well, some of us, here in India do all that on Diwali.

In my case this urge ‘to resolve’ would in all likelihood, tend to come early morning with my cup of tea as I am reading the day’s newspaper. This is the time too when some news item, the event magazine or the mushy cinematic gossip sessions trigger some deep passion to have our bit of a say. At times I have even taken a quick mobile snapshot to form basis of an idea. But more often, these ideas wash away with the morning shower as we get to more immediate and pressing issues for the day, like our job and work.

Today though, I have got up with an awkward chest congestion which has been going on and off now for more than a month and the headline reads “Air Pollution Levels set exceed over the next 3 days (towards Diwali)”.

“Ahh, yesterday they showed the pollution meter cross the ‘Red’ already, what do they mean ‘set to exceed’?” I exclaim to myself as I instinctively try to breathe.

Oh yes, sure as hell, my lungs are sufficiently choked, so I shut the door and the window too. A sudden surge of blue fear crosses my eyes as I am finally able to connect my chest congestion and throat itching to this annual phenomena in Delhi and I am sure, so might well be, for many all across our country trying our best to be with our thought provoking leader for the ‘clean India, live healthy’ idea.

The news and full page warnings from the government, ‘Swachh Bharat’ protagonists et al are saying it is all because Diwali is round the corner and so we must all promise not to burst fire-crackers and that the Chinese ones are more polluting than the ‘made in India’ ones. On other hand the same newspaper adds to the festivities by saying how the kids and their parents are loving the packages with WWE kick-ass celebs, MSD, Virat Kohli and Sonny Leonne on covers, as per preferences.

But then last one week I have been driving around Delhi, especially old Delhi around Chandni Chowk as I was getting some audio equipment rehabilitated by wizcraft available only at LPRM for even some sleek home studio stuff. I saw plenty of buyers for LED lights and all kinds of  gift packages which corporates and shoppers from anywhere in India converge to buy here at the wholesale markets, but repeatedly I heard that sale of crackers was the least in proportion to the sales at this time ahead of Diwali.

Notwithstanding what’s selling or not, I have not heard even a sound of firecracker or ‘bomb’ exploding around anywhere either around home or wherever I have been around, or maybe my ears too are blocked by whatever is floating in Delhi’s air at this time!

Then wherefrom this smog and this pollution that is adding so much friction to my ENT path?

Oh yes, I did see a ‘cleaner Delhi’ attitude where the cleaners are neatly laying the garbage along the streets and someone must be dumping it at the dumps and landfills or wherever the garbage is supposed to go. But in all such presumptions, the garbage created from the ‘Ramlila’ grounds, the Durga Puja pandals and the excess eating at open air stalls all around the cities during this period is quite unlikely to reach the landfills anytime soon. It is getting burnt right around our homes in small heaps and larger heaps, maybe, where the most privileged of Delhiites may not be living.

The carbon emissions from the garbage and waste we create during our holy festivities and holiday seasons, not just in Delhi, but all across India, simply for our population would be alarming! For whatever us educated families and our RWA’s might be doing, it is the sheer numbers of the less privileged, but those too who must rejoice in the days of prayer and celebrations who collectively create a lot more than our government is prepared to evacuate.

This Diwali follows just too soon! I wonder who would take this to the courts (our children be blessed for times ahead) and shift the dates of Diwali till such time that the muck from the weeks before normalizes.

This is also the season when we find that the craftsmen, the labor,  even the public servants and their field working divisions have left for vacation to their villages or hometowns.

“Oh the Diwali is coming……we’ll clean it up after that!” I guess we need more than our honorable PM to change this one.

Well I am not to be accused for putting words into somebody else’s mouth, but isn’t this the most likely reason why my chest congestion is now only likely to go away after Diwali.

Till then guys it’s ‘cough cough’ from me signing off from today’s (my first of series) post. Please do put ‘Likes’ so this habit sustains and who knows I might find that ‘writer’ in me to nobody’s chagrin; for this my friends, is my resolution this Diwali – to write.

And for all the skewed ideas and religious anomalies, the news channels on TV last night showed that ‘Ayodhya’, the reigning city of Shri Ram (whose killing of the demonic Ravana is why Diwali is celebrated) is the dirtiest city one can find and least said for the bovines, the better.

If you want to know the reason why I stopped writing earlier, please listen to this song – which I wrote, set to music and sang at my little home studio on a Diwali 5 years ago, the theme (between Dussehra to Diwali, we defeat Evil as Lord Rama did) simulated to quash the governments all over the world, like what aam admi, the ordinary man on street does best – and look what happened!

We have right now a Trump in one part of the world and ‘Ram Rajya’ is actually to reckon here in India (see the video for context) –  quite ‘ironical’, I would say. But will we breathe easy?






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