Two New Yorkers spend six months 18 months!?! in Bangalore and other places in India.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali to everyone out there celebrating it. When we got back to the apartment this afternoon, we saw that the decorating for the final day had begun, with rice-flour rangoli/kolams along the entryway and small lights (diyas) on top of every other design.

And now that it's nighttime, the "crackers" (firecrackers) have started going off. For the past few days the newspapers, in the tut-tutting way they often have, have been full of reports about how the firecrackers 1) cause noise and air pollution, 2) are made by little children and 3) tend to cause injuries. Number 1 doesn't really impress me. It's just one night, people! But talk to me tomorrow after I haven't gotten any sleep. Right now, it's just 8 pm, so the wartime noise outside is just thrilling and not yet annoying.

Number 2 is very depressing and true (although things may be getting better than they used to be). It's especially depressing when you think of all the chemicals and risk that go into making the crackers. I haven't examined any crackers too closely, but some of those sold at stands look as if they're basically gunpowder or whatever tied up into tight packets made of palm leaves. Can you imagine having to tie each of them together, row after row?

As for 3, the injury angle, those suckers are definitely dangerous. I'm certain you could blow your hand off with some of them. Most of the ones I've seen (and are now hearing) aren't tiny little firecrackers, they're like M-80s -- they make a huge boom like a gunshot. They're more about the noise and less about the light. However, I can also see lots of fireworks up in the sky from the apartment windows, so that kind is also very present too.

How are we celebrating? Well, I'd be ashamed if I showed up in a hospital tonight with a blown-up hand or burst eardrums, so instead we just elected to light some lights at the entrance to our door. Boring, but also nice-looking.

Oh, and by the way, New York City celebrated Diwali already -- last month. They have to be first with everything! Actually, the real reason was more pragmatic -- by now it would be just too darn cold to do much outdoors.

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