On the 11th of November 2015, when the whole of the nation celebrated the festival of Diwali, when the dark sky was lit by fireworks, when the air smelled of explosives, when every house was glowing with hundreds of earthen lamps, when the whole nation was on a holiday – a small little boy sat helpless in the dark corner of a street, wanting to cry but remembering the words of her late mum and holding back. She had said, “Diwali is a festival of lights and joy, never let your misfortune dishearten you on this day. Celebrate it with the pomp it deserves!”
At the age of twelve, he was earning enough to keep himself alive. He worked for a burly man who had a musty factory. Along with a handful of others, he used to make crackers. He was grateful to god for this little job. He was grateful that he was alive.
With his head bent, his eyes lifeless, his posture still, he fought back the urge to cry out loud. The constant noise of crackers filled the air and the feeling of loss filled his heart.
The morning was still fresh in his mind – as fresh as it could be! He had been doing his job efficiently – filling “barood” in the small paper packs. Waiting eagerly for the two dry chappatis his master would soon provide, he quickened his pace. There was an improvement today. He had made 68 packets in one hour, yesterday he had made only 54. His mother would be proud of him, he thought. And he was confident that he’d earn enough to buy a pack of sweets for his mother this Diwali. He’d make it the most memorable one for her! With a grin on his face, he worked efficiently. The little face of his darling mother vivid in his mind, he kept filling and tieing the packets.
“2 minutes to 12!” yelled an older guy in the room. The boy’s face lightened! 2 minutes before he could meet his mother for lunch in the other building. He was sure her mother must be very tired today as the demand for crackers was maximum today and she did the sealing. He’d give her one of his chappatis, yes!
And then…all he remembered was a loud bang and a blinding flash in the window behind. They said it was an accident. A cracker had accidently burst, lighting the others. The building had collapsed too. All the workers had died. It was destiny they said.
The money he had earned still burnt his shirt pocket. The rolled chappatis were still kept in his torn pant as he thought of his mother. She was gone now….forever. There wasn’t a tored soul to offer a chappati to now. There was no one to buy sweets for now. This Diwali was the most memorable one …but not for his mother, rather for him!
His master said such accidents were common in this business, the boy shan’t be disheartened. He should forget the incidence.
But was it so easy?
I won’t say that the account above was completely fictional. Yes its raw and not really a polished piece – but it is original (by me!)
On the 11th of this month was DIWALI. A festival of lights. The festival is marked by the return of Lord Ram to his hometown after defeating Ravana and rescuing Godess Sita. The festival is celebrated by lighting earthen pots…and by bursting crackers. I can’t vouch for an account of crackers in the vedas…
Yes they cause pollution and make the birds completely restless. The animals become terrified by the noise. And they have no one to turn to! Yet humans have fun!
So, Diwali, the biggest festival for Hindus was a good one this year (exept the loss of a few unimportant lives here and there)!
Wishing you all a safe and prosperous diwali (belated)!
Stay safe! Stay happy!