BENGALURU: The Festival of Lights has passed us, and we have two months till we take stock of the year. In theory, we have 12 months in a year. But without a college degree in Psychology or Applied Informatics, Yours Truly has discovered that the last two months vanish like free drinks at a corporate party. The months April to May crawl along slowly like a caterpillar in a hot, barren desert.
I did not burst crackers this Diwali, and it wasn’t due to awareness or empathy. I have found that my celebration of Diwali mostly depends on my mood. On some nights, friends who have guzzled down half a bottle of whiskey like Lord Shiva swallowing Halahala proclaim – ‘Now, let’s burst crackers’.
In such a scenario, Yours Truly quickly gets a migraine attack and rescues himself in search of greener pastures.
This year, I spent Diwali with some childhood friends. They were with me till college. But they somehow got their lives in order and today lead respectable lives. I caught some of their conversation – something about being a bull when the market was a bear. Upon enquiry, I found that the statement had nothing to do with Jambavan or Nandi.
Without the pressure of bursting crackers, I decided to force alcohol into my system and set off to observe the city. I am not one to blow my own trumpet, but once alcohol has entered my system, the world’s wisest truths fight to enter my brain. That night, I realised (without a Psychology degree, mind you!) that Diwali is actually a Festival of Lights if you’re rich.
Seated inside their car, I could only ‘see’ the fireworks and not hear them. The only crackers I could hear were the expensive ones, all priced `200 and above. From the balcony of their high-rise building, I noticed that the sky was bursting with beautiful colours every few seconds. Of course, Diwali is a different festival if Goddess Lakshmi does not usually visit your house. And my flat is one that would definitely win the approval from Lord Shiva, but Goddess Lakshmi would think twice before ringing our bell (it doesn’t work!).
For me, Diwali is usually spent jumping in fright. Or in imagining myself to be a cast-member on the sets of Saving Private Ryan, evading bombs and landlines. My frayed nerves, regularly soothed with chosen herbs and tranquillisers, begin to jump about like the children in my colony. I am not one to wake up early, but I take my job as a newspaper columnist rather seriously. I woke up early the day after Diwali and stood at my vantage point near the chai shop. My colony looked like the sets of Mad Max: Road Fury. Dust, grime and soot rose up when the cleaners used their brooms. The stray dogs crawled out, shaking their heads. Probably wondering what was wrong with human beings. They throw you biscuits one day and declare a war the next.
But the saddest creatures were the human beings, trudging back to their offices after a long weekend. After handling hi-tech gadgetry like atom bombs and hydrogen bombs, they would have to return to Excel sheets and team-calls. I patted a dog, threw it a biscuit, and returned home. I left the door open, in case Goddess Lakshmi decides to revisit.
The author is a writer and a comedian