“Who said we have banned the bursting of crackers. The existing stockpile of crackers is enough,” said Justice Sikri. It sounded confusing at first, but then I realised that Justice Sikri had just won the Diwali argument with a diplomatic answer. Diwali is an important part of a Hindu’s life. It felt wrong to ban the bursting of crackers since the cherry-picking of Hindu festivals irked me. But when I saw the quality of air during my stay in Delhi, I knew why dog had to be let out of its leash. My friend’s 60-year-old mother is asthmatic, and her coughs and wheezes start developing around the time of Diwali.
It has been the cleanest Diwali in three years, thanks to the cracker ban. Though the padaka enthusiast didn’t stop, the ban did slow them down. Friday morning was cold and a light blanket of smog covered the horizon. A few people had their masks on. I felt no need to be a ninja, but CPCB’s data did turn me into a dacoit when I wrapped my hankie around my orifices. The news leveled the air quality index to Air Quality Index (AQI) 319. Last year, this measurement was 999 (makes me wonder how Delhites survived).
I guess a lot of people realised that giving this issue a communal angle wasn’t the solution to keep Deepawali alive. We need to find an alternative, maybe a diya and decoration-off with your neighbours. I’ve seen people decorate their house and front yard with impressive light shows and music during the Christmas season in Orlando. The need to switch from crackers to air-friendly celebrations is imperative for India to survive. Else, we’ll soon have to deal with Nawazuddin Siddiqui-like oxygen mafias shown in that mini cringefest called ‘Carbon’. Moreover, I would gladly be suffocated than be Jackky Bhagnani.