Bright nights

by Varsha Arun October. 31, 2019 185 views

The last 5 days have been of huge celebration in India. We celebrated Diwali (aka Deepavali), or the "Festival of Lights", a very important festival for most Indians. Coinciding with the Hindu new year, it is seen as a celebration of new beginnings; and the triumph of good over evil & light over darkness - a reminiscence of the victory of God-King Rama, who after 14 years of exile, defeated the Demon-King Ravana. We light diyas (clay lamps), lanterns and firecrackers in the spirit of revelry.

Sequence of a firecracker burst in the sky

Sequence of a firecracker burst in the sky

Diyas or deepas are lit to illuminate the path through which Lord Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman (who spent the exile together) returned to their kingdom. Crackers are burst to celebrate the triumph over all evil and to spread light in the world. I once came across a satellite photo of our country on Diwali night that showed a million sparkling spots, that lit up the geographical expanse of India, like a shimmering diamond mine...

With the fervent idea of getting some speed photography shots, I bounded up to my terrace in the hopes of capturing light shows wherever possible. After an hour of pointless zooming in & out resulting in blurry aftermath on my screen, I was graced with a rocket cracker shot right above by my overzealous neighbours. What ensued was a procession of light formations that were a sight to behold! Apologies for the picture quality, as I was keener to save my head from stray sparks before going ahead with the clicking. The results are as follows...

The many faces of a cracker :

Might thank my neighbours for their timing and unmindful consideration for my photography escapades.

Although Diwali is one of the primary festivals in India, it does have its own problems. The last few decades have seen a steep rise in firecracker usage, especially in urban settings due to higher population concentration. Apart from being a health hazard, crackers contribute largely to air and noise pollution. They are also harmful to animals that perceive sound at a higher decibel than humans. Not to forget the thousands of labourers that contract skin diseases & other ailments due to a lifelong career in the manufacture of these firecrackers.

Smog on the horizon - Experimenting with layers

Smog on the horizon - Experimenting with layers

Efforts are being made in recent years to reduce their usage - Local laws have been modified to restrict bursting within specific time periods, celebrating with decorative lanterns & eco-friendly crackers are being promoted, and a general awareness of the hazards to both health & nature has been raised. It is a long way to completely eradicating firecrackers from the core of Diwali; the key lies in teaching the younger generation to put the environment before their indulgences.

Street light woes...

Street light woes...

The above picture is very significant to me - the irony of the people ignoring the light & its dour reality to look at the crackers, during a festival of lights is woeful to me. 20 years have come & gone since I last burst a cracker, and with them my hopes of a quiet, tranquil Diwali decorated with only lamps...

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There are 2 comments , add yours!
Antonio Gil 1 year ago

It takes a while to change minds. Hopefully we get there

1 year ago Edited
Varsha Arun Replied to Antonio Gil 1 year ago

Yes I hope so...

1 year ago Edited