With Festival of lights just around the corner, many Mumbaikars, tired of the elaborate rituals associated with the festival, are looking for more meaningful Diwali celebrations this time around. Fatigued with the noise pollution and commercialisation of the gifting tradition, some people are making an effort to quieten, simplify and individualise Diwali.
“On Diwali, I consciously divert my children’s attention to the darkness in the lives of poor kids,” says Vile Parle resident Tanvi Bharadwaj, 42, who rejects the self-gratification of Diwali celebrations. Bharadwaj isn’t alone in lighting up her children’s consciences with social responsibilities, there are others too for whom there is conservation within tradition, sobriety in revelry.
Especially for those living away from homes, the festive season is the perfect time to meet their loved ones. “I feel strongly about the sanctity of the festival but I would use the time to meet friends,” says 22-year-old student of KC College, Puja Pincha.
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A more inexpensive Diwali is also possible, say some. Vikram Shinde, 48, an Andheri-based businessman dealing in logistics, says, “Excessive commercialisation brings chaos and takes away peace. Personally I keep aside the money for personal use.”
And while the firecrackers are inevitable, there is novelty there too. “I love bursting crackers, specially the electric firecrackers, because they are loud yet pollution free. The best part is that it can be reused unlimited times. It has an electric circuit which produces a high-decibel sound,” says 14-year-old Ayush Agarwal, a resident of Chembur.
For others, the old-fashioned ways rule. Ankita Bharadwaj, an 18-year-old Kurla-East resident says, “I enjoy bursting chakri, anar, rockets, akash ganga, bombs and I won’t stop bursting them ever. It’s a sense of treat seeing those beautiful lights brightened up in the sky with the happiness of millions of people attached to it.”
At Chhaya Fireworks in Andheri, a manager says there has been a small drop in sales of fire crackers in the past few years. “But we still have our fixed customers who come every year to buy the crackers. From past few years, people are more into buying rockets, 3D firecrackers, while the sale of bombs has come down. We see people buying anar, chakri, snakes. The time has changed and people don’t want to stick onto those old firecrackers,” he says, adding, “People don’t buy crackers wholeheartedly as they used to 7-8 years ago. We are rapidly losing some of the traditions.”