It is that time of the year, when the city and country as a whole, gets divided into two unequal halves. One half which burst crackers till the break of dawn and the other half which stuffs cotton plugs in their ears hoping to catch some sleep despite the blaring decibel levels. When I was young, I belonged to the former half, bursting crackers with gay abandon. Then an article I read about the ill effects of crackers and how children as young as 3 years old are forced to work for long hours in cramped rooms made me quit bursting crackers. I wanted to make a contribution, albeit in a small way. I realized that along with the cracker I was also burning a child's future. However, unlike vegetarians I don't feel morally superior just because I don't burst crackers. To each one his own. Of late, the number of crackers have reduced significantly. This was apparent when I went to Crawford Market the other day. The line at Essabhai fireworks (for the uninitiated, it is the largest wholesaler of fireworks in Bombay) was shorter than the one at Siddhivinayak. And as I sit here, one day before Diwali, writing this post, I strain my ears but I can hardly hear the fireworks. One school of thought is that the children today are a lot less ignorant and refrain from crackers to curb noise pollution, air pollution etc. I really find this very hard to digest. I personally feel that they have just found better ways to spend money than burn it on crackers. I mean why waste money on fireworks when you can go clubbing, play pool or take your chick to a cozy, plush restaurant with that money. The thought that children of today are sacrificing fun for the sake of the environment is all hogwash. If crackers were the only source of entertainment for them, they would have been setting Bombay on fire!
7 months ago