The moment we hear the word ‘Diwali’ three things cross our minds: diyas (oil lamps), sweets and crackers. I would love to share a small incident here that happened more than a decade back but changed my perception in a huge way. I was in standard 8th that time and like all my other friends, was very excited about this forthcoming festival. I was never interested in or have been very fond of sweets but always expected my parents to buy me crackers, even if the total bill was enviable and they, out of love, complied. Days before Diwali night, I and my friends (who fell into my group of over-enthusiastic cracker-maniacs) would begin in the evening, after completing the homework and all and continued till our tired parents called us for supper.
One fine day an NGO visited my school to gather funds to save some child labors from a firework factory in Sivakasi. It was an entirely official visit and we students were not asked to donate any funds or anything to that NGO. However, they insisted on having an interactive session with students. Hence, batches were given dates and one day our turn too arrived. Just like any 8th grader, I sat in the room, bored, along with my friends but when they began the entire thing, it soon absorbed us and kept us hooked to every syllable they uttered. They showed us some real life photographs of utterly miserable and disabled kids with decomposed limbs and some grave injuries, who, as if stared at us from those pictures with questioning eyes. One man in the group also told us how small children as young as four years old are admitted to fireworks factories, are picked up by dedicated buses and are made to work for long hours in suffocating and dingy rooms where supervisors behaved with them in the most inhuman way. The images were really horrifying and the entire scene was made much clearer by the people representing that NGO.
Within a week after their visit, one fine morning, at the assembly time, our headmistress addressed us all and requested us to take an oath and honestly, that one oath changed my Diwalis to come for ever. The oath was not to buy crackers to contribute in saving the kids, since when buying stops, their torture will gradually stop too. Also, to give us a moment of fun, there are hundreds of children who risk their lives and lose their limbs and become crippled for life at such a young age. I feel proud of myself that I took that oath seriously have not bought a single firework after that and this decision made my parents proud too!
Diwali is a celebration of bonds and happiness and not enjoying to hilt at someone’s misfortune. Now, I have been noticing that from the last few years, the use of fireworks has been on a decline and that many children have been rescued from such hell-hole factories by active NGOs.
The best Diwali is the one that is celebrated with friends and gharwallas and those members that are away for some reasons like jobs etc. rather than by lighting crackers mindlessly in one corner. This year, spread love and just give your beloveds a call to tell them how much you miss them! Spread cheer and not noise and pollution! Happy Diwali!
Visit www.gharwalidiwali.com for pleasant surprises!!
Also, check out this cute video!