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The Day After

The burnt-out parts of crackers and fireworks
Lay scattered in the yard and road and wherever the eye could reach.
The festival is over.
The intoxication lingered a while.
And that died out too.
Leaving an aftertaste somewhere in the hollows within,
Sweet and bitter, bitterness competing with sweetness.

The sound and fury of the fireworks on the ground and in the heaven
Repeated the same old tales, wise or idiotic – who knows?  Who cares?
Dazzling lights strutted and fretted
Their hour upon the stage
Leaving distorted and gaping fragments behind.

The fragments will be swept into the dustbins of Swachh Bharat
Maybe the next time the Great Actor drives us to the broom store
Or maybe they will be carried away by the winds of time
That blow relentlessly
And mercilessly
Erasing the markings we make on dust.

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  1. Diwali is all about lights not about noise and pollution. But celebration doesn't have any ends Tomichan. Nicely written! Enjoyed reading it!

    1. As time goes by, celebrations will evolve too, Gowthama. I think there has been some improvement this year compared to previous years. Is it because of the tragedy in Faridabad (cracker shops being gutted) or is it because people are becoming more conscious, I don't know.

  2. Its always mixed feelings sir after diwali. This was the first time that as a family we didn't burn crackers and enjoyed the other parts of the festival. As a kid burning the crackers was the most important and I feel a lot of my friends are now doing it only to showoff. So completely related to each word and am still having mixed feelings.

    1. The show off plays a big role, Athena. In my city, Delhi, that is what matters more than anything else, I think.

    2. In tamil there is a saying which goes something like charring money i cant find a better way to explain the too much cracker syndrome than literally burning hard earned money.

    3. In Malayalam, the idiom 'Diwali kulikuka' means waste one's entire wealth. I guess it must have come from the way people burnt up money on fireworks. I'm not sure, of course...

      Whatever that be, it's time to reign in certain wasteful practices that are ominous for the planet.

  3. Very meaningful lines.
    I feel the bitter aftertaste, this time more than ever before. Partly because I haven't been in the country for the past few Diwalis and partly because I hated having to expose my under-one-year old to all that smoke.

    1. Apart from the pollution, the "sound and fury" of life itself prompted me to write this, to be frank. The whole second stanza is inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth: "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
      And then is heard no more. It is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
      Signifying nothing."

  4. Very meaningful poem! I have burned the noisy crackers in my life. And in about 15 years I haven't burned the mild ones either. And After seeing the Diwali mess in Bangalore while I was there, I am not interested at all in "celebrating" Diwali with crackers.

    1. It will take time for deep-rooted traditions to change. What I'm more interested in is a change in attitude towards religion in general.


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