Monday, October 23, 2006

Gods Must be ( Really ) Crazy !!

Diwali DiyaWhat do u get when you add Chennaiites total disregard for personal safety ( not related to their total disregard for personal hygiene, which is no less deadly ) and a cheap supply of gun powder and a day delared as a public holiday to set fire to the whole city ?? OK maybe not gun pwder.. but almost the same stuff, the kind u use in fireworks. Ok so what do u get ? Diwali.
To stretch a short story long, it all started with my decision to go with my friend to the cinema. When the idea was first proposed, I was not interested, but then after some persuasion I agreed as I had somewhat good expectations from Farhan Akhtar's "DON". It is another story that they were planning to go for "Jaane Mann" which would involve watching Salman Khan in tears ( but hey the film is supposed to be a comedy ) so thankfully I managed to get them to go for DON itself. But as they say success is not a destination, its the journey. How true ! The second I set foot outside our gate, I knew I had made a big mistake.
One step . *BOOOOM* We stopped. Another step. *BOOM* *insert big cracker sound* * child giggling* * rocket sound * * my heart beat* Now to be true it was not completely unexpected. We obviously knew people are gonna burst crackers for Diwali. What we didnt know, was that, here in Chennai people build houses with no back yard, no front yard , or any yard ( they step out of the house into the road) ; so for everything from dumping kitchen waste, to the dog's potty training ( which apparantly continues till it dies) they use the road. Same for crackers. It seems all the families were out on the road, celebrating. Very sweet. But to our horror, we realised that we had to somehow navigate the 1 km of road through this residential colony to reach the safety ( or so we thought) of the main road. We tried to pretend to be brave and started on our adventure.
On both sides of the road, like autumn leaves , were the paper covering of burst crackers. It seemed like a battle field after a battle. On the road wherever there was a gate or a building, there were a small group of people. Some of them will be carrying big polythene covers, carrying what for me looked like all the amunition they used for WW I. Then I would get to see their reserves. But we soon learned to neglect all this, as we soon found out, the person to watch out for, is the guy holding the spark. It can be anything, a small burning stick, candle.. he is the one who sets fire to the crackers. And it seems they pick the guy with the least eye sight. He will light a rocket even if they see two ( brave looking ) young men trying to cross their area of influence. The most confusing part is the road as a whole is littered with burnt carcker shells. Flowe pot shells, wheels , some sort of cylindrical thing which looks like a grenade laucher to me, which they use to fire the "big one" towards the sky. So we dont really know where is the real one that the sparker is gonna ignite. We dont know if any of the shells lying harmlessly on the road is actually an unexploded one, with a slow burining wick... We dont know from where the next rocket is gonna go up.. or come down. One rocket is ok, but if they are gonna keep their full supply right next to the burning stuff, thats enough reason to be worried. But relax, here comes the neighbour's two year old son who wants to light a cracker. All he has to do is light it and throw it. Simple.. dont worry where it lands. They should take him into US AF. By now, we were slowly getting used to it. Like the Iraqis got used to US bombings. Ok bad joke.
And somehow we managed to reach the main road to catch an auto to the theatre. We thought we would be safe inside the auto. Wrong. I dont think I would have been safe inside a battle tank. Some of the things that were exploding on the road, I am sure should be classified under anti tank weapons. Sitting beside the driver, I felt suddenly very vulnerable. It has to be experienced to belive, you are going on an auto, while all around you, all you see and hear is flashes of light and the loud explosions.. and the streaks made by the rockets. It doesnt do any good if most of the rockets you see are actually going horizontally rather than vertically.
We managed to reach the theater with no physical injuries. But I was left thinking. Is it all necessary ? Why take so much risk to 'celebrate' something ? I like fireworks too, but isnt it better if each town or city conducts a grand fireworks show for everybody to watch. That way the display would be much more delightful, and safer. But then why do we have them at all ? I prefer eating a family dinner than breaking my ear drums. If the city people like to hear the sound of crackers so much, then they might as well air it on the radio. That way atleast there wont be any smoke.

PS: I ordered pizza today. The delvery boy was taking out the bill and change when our neighbours, standing on the terrace of their apartment, decided to lauch their rocket. The pizza guy had his back to them, he was counting the change when, * whoosh * a streak of smoke and * * plop * into the water filled ditch that separates their apartment from our house. You should have seen that guy's expression !!! That rocket incidently flew exactly in the opposite direction that it was suposed to go.

I am booking tickets to go home next year.


Karunakaran Prasad said...

Heheheheh.. Maybe if you didnt have the (brave looking) pose on and started screaming like little girls they would have shown you some mercy.

Let the kids have fun. Here we're forbidden to use most fireworks anywhere near our residences...

shoonya said...

sandee, you are getting hit in Evo pretty soon. you just came out of holiday mode, and seems like DLE has removed your primary tag, so better log in and join an alliance fast!!!