|One of the flames|
on our terrace in Delhi
in a Diwali night
It’s only when the greetings came via Whatsapp that I realised it was Diwali. Saturday is a holiday anyway and I used it for completing the works set aside for the day as usual. The work took me to two towns on either side of my village. There was nothing in either of the towns to remind one of Diwali. It was business as usual. Not even an extra lamp was seen anywhere. No diyas which were ubiquitous in Delhi where I lived a decade and a half before I chose the quietness of this village. No crackers which the Delhiites insisted on calling ‘bombs’ – “bum,” in fact.
No, I don’t miss the diyas or the bums. I like this quietness. I love the purity that wafts into my lungs. I used to conceal myself at home during both Diwali and Holi while I was in Delhi. Both these festivals are conspicuous by their absence in Kerala except maybe in the big cities where people from other states celebrate them.
That makes me think of the diversity which marks India. Half of Kerala’s population is Hindu. But they don’t celebrate the two festivals which hold much charm for their counterparts in other parts of the country. Perhaps, BJP will import the festivals soon just as it has already imported gau mata. Beef has all but disappeared from the state. Probably the Malayali health-consciousness has more to do with that than BJP.
While I sit and enjoy the quietness that distils through the night air from a sky stippled with twinkling stars, let me wish HAPPY DIWALI to my friends in less silent places. Let me also reassure them that though we don’t have the Diwali bums here, we have all the political bums – a whole array of scams and scandals as raucous as they can get.