Diwali: A festival of lights?

Disclaimer: This post is entirely an opinion and not intended to be rubbed off on others. It is a genuine concern put forth in a different manner.  There is no intention to harm or hurt any religious sentiments, or for that matter, any sentiments. If I hurt any sentiments of yours, I apologize in advance. I request you all to look at the issue behind the story. It is a genuine request. I am not against Deepavali or against any religious sentiment. This is just a request that I have for you. It is a festival of lights. Let’s try not to remove that light from someone for our fun. It is a genuine plea.

It was the year 2016, when Lord Ram, who is now an essence of Vishnu, wanted to come back to his birth place and see the human world through his eyes as a mortal. His time has ended when he became the essence of Vishnu and all that he knew later, was not as Ram, but as Vishnu.

When he told his decision of going to Ayodhya, Sita and Lakshman also wanted to accompany him. But Ram wanted to go alone. In his mortal life, he had made both of them suffer for his doings. He never wanted Sita or Lakshman to come to the forest along with them. But they had insisted to come. They were so adamant that he couldn’t refuse. He accepted their request and had set out to the forest for his exile of 14 years. There was no turning back. 13 years passed by peacefully, and then she was kidnapped by Ravana. He and Lakshman spent a whole year in the war to get Sita back and then return to Ayodhya. Again, because a washerman said something against him and Sita, he had sent her to the forest when she was pregnant. There was not a day that he had regretted his decision. He had made everyone suffer for a cause that was only his. He had done many things in his life, which were then spoken in the world as great deeds, but Rama always felt that he had been making other people suffer.

And now, it was only his wish to go to Earth to see his home town. He had made an excellent ruler, but is the Earth safe for Sita and Lakshman to go? He didn’t know. He wanted to know if it was. He said what he wanted to tell them many years ago.

“I am sorry, both of you. I had made you suffer in your life without any fault of yours. But this time, I do not want to make that mistake. I am very sorry and I wish you would understand my decision” he said. He just wanted to go alone to Earth this time. They understood what he wanted to say and they had accepted this time. They didn’t want him to go alone, but there was not much they could do this time. They had a reason the previous time, but this time, they had none. They saw him slowly descend to Earth, hoping that he would come back safely.

A day later, Ram returned. Sita and Lakshman were curious of his travels. One thing they both knew about Ram was his talking. When he wanted to talk, he would talk for hours on strech about anything under the sun. There was some curiosity in his face, but the rest of it was filled with despair. Something was not right in Earth, that showed up on his face. Both of them became even curious.

“How was your travel, brother?” Lakshman asked him, as Sita gestured him to.

“I did not find Earth. I did not find. I found something else” Ram said and broke into tears. Both of them were flabbergasted at the reply. How could he not find Earth? He did go to Earth.

“What do you mean you haven’t found Earth?” Sita asked him, with a puzzled look.

“It is not Earth anymore, Sita. A lot of things have changed. And I had gone during the time of Deepavali, the festival of lights” Ram replied.

“Deepavali is a wonderful festival. It reminds me of the day we had returned to Ayodhya. The entire city was happy at our return. They had celebrated the moonless night by lighting lamps all across the city. It felt like day with all the lights. Such wonderful memories” Sita was reminiscing the first Deepavali they celebrated together.

“It has changed, Sita. It has changed completely. Our return was celebrated by lamps. But their celebrations had made me leave the place as soon as I can. It was supposed to be a time when everything is cleaned, made to sparkle and everyone celebrates Deepavali together. But it was not like that, Sita. It was not like that. No matter where I went, I could see the same thing” Ram replied.

“What happened, brother?” Lakshman asked.

“I had gone early in the morning. The sun was about to rise. I could see people sweeping the roads. A good start for a day like this, I thought. After a while, about a few hours after the sun rise, I heard an explosion. I was immediately alerted. What would that explosion mean? Is anyone hurt? Who is behind the explosion? I wondered. I ran in that direction, as I heard another explosion. I ran as fast as my legs could take me. And by the time I reached the street where the explosion occurred, I saw another explosion. It was right in front of my eyes. A small kid was firing it. I became shocked at that incident. But everyone around me were peaceful and they were enjoying it. I didn’t understand. Are explosives available to everybody now? I went up to the kid and asked where his father was. He pointed to me to a man standing nearby. I went up to him and asked why is the kid firing the explosive.

His reply was simple. It’s Deepavali. I asked him what does explosives and Deepavali have in common. He started narrating me the story of Ram returning to Ayodhya and how everyone burst crackers to celebrate his return” Ram stopped there, to let that sink in. Beside all the great qualities that Ram had possessed, he was a great conversationalist too. He knew when to pause, he knew when to talk.

“But that is not what happened. We were welcomed with lights, not explosions” Sita replied. That was one the rejoicing moments in her life, after Ram had married her.

“I too had told him the same thing. After all, it was our story that he was telling me. He didn’t understand what I said. He looked confused and asked me who do I think I am. Was I the great Lord Ram himself? I told him that Ram always was a mortal and not a god, but he didn’t listen. As that conversation slowly died out of the arrogance in the voice, I heard another explosion. I ran towards that, when the kid had fired another explosive. I hadn’t seen that and it hit me in the leg. It pained a lot” Ram said, as he showed his leg to both of them. The wound was still bleeding. He hadn’t left his mortal form yet.

“The same thing happened again and again. By the time it was evening, I was tired from the running. My leg was still paining, and I thought I’ll just stay for the night and come back. And then the explosions started again. This time, they had some other things additionally. As I was walking on the street, someone shouted Stop and I stopped. Then a burst of fire ran up towards the sky. I was worried if it would reach the sky and hurt any birds. And there was something with a center and fire around it. It looked like the chakra. A while later, I couldn’t breathe. I understood that I would suffocate if I stayed there for more than a while. So, I ran and came back” Ram said and burst into tears. He was crying and blaming himself for wanting to go to Earth and see it. It has been changed to something else.

“What have I done?” Ram shouted. He was blaming himself for the events that happened in his visit to Earth.

“Deepavali has been ruined, Sita. I never knew this would happen. I never knew this” Ram was sobbing like a little child.

“The festivities had remained. The spirit has died, Sita. The spirit of Deepavali has died”

Every year there are numerous accidents due to Diwali. It is not only on the day of Diwali but also on the other days around Diwali that we burst crackers. It is a great thing. It is a collective celebration. But that is not what Diwali is for. It is a festival of lights. We welcome light into our lives. Not remove light from some. 

I request you, please understand. Pollution is a side effect of Diwali, one which we suffer all the other days. Please understand your part in having a safe Diwali. Make it a festival of lights, not a festival of sounds and pollution.

If I had hurt any sentiments, I apologize.

 

Surya

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Thoughtful article! But man is in constant search of amusements. How about replacing crackers with some environmental friendly crackers? It might sound lame at moment, because every celebration comes with some impact. Can there be an alternative to stopping the fireplay? 🙂

    Like

    1. Surya Teja says:

      That does make sense. A thought towards that direction might prove useful to all of us

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 Looking forward for the next article

        Like

      2. Surya Teja says:

        Thank you. I shall definitely send the link.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Devulapalli Mahathi says:

    Very well done Surya…u have depicted the so called sensitive issue in a wonderful manner..sideways showing respect towards culture is fabulous..
    Great job…

    Like

    1. Surya Teja says:

      Thank you so much Mahathi

      Like

  3. abirsoni says:

    If i could I would have hugged you for this! Nice!!

    Like

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