A Dark Diwali

Posted: 23rd October 2014 by aseem.ace in Thoughts
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diwaliAh Diwali Morning!! The morning where the night holds so much promise that you want time to move fast till darkness dawns on the planet. For the darkness that night is sure to be punctured by rapturous flailing of firecrackers against the immense sky. He had taken the day off. A rarity for him as he was a daily wage laborer and the luxury of a holiday was best reserved for special occasions like this one. Illness or the time between projects was the only other leaves he knew. And leaves were thus unwelcome and unholy for him generally.

The year had been good and he had been mostly employed. His family had shopped the day before and besides bright new clothes for his son, wife and himself he had splurged and bought firecrackers worth 600 Rupees. This was a first for him and he was proud that he could afford this little luxury for the sake of his son. Their beaming faces and those of his neighbors in the impoverished neighborhood, that looked unusually prosperous on this auspicious day, were a sight to behold on this august day. People walked around in their bright and new Diwali clothes. There was a palpable sense of excitement in the air and the children were more boisterous than usual.

There was a wave of joy discernible among most people apart from those who had lost someone and wouldn’t be partaking in the festivities. The joy of the little ones was contagious and by evening they were all in high spirits and bonhomie amongst the neighborhood was at its usual festive high.

The Poojas commenced and then the celebration began. The road was littered with the carcasses of joy givers aka firecrackers of all sorts. The children squealed –half in joy and half in fright as fire reigned over the night. In a show of sound and beauty the night sky was brighter than most mornings. This was a much appreciated spectacle of a facile war against darkness as adulatory faces turned upwards. This was an annual spectacle that was held in more regard than the most beautiful dawn.

He was laughing at his child’s joy and his wife was also looking over adoringly at the 5 year old when it happened. The tyres squelched on the sandy earth as the man made beast mowed down their joy and light leaving them as horror struck witnesses whose joy de vivre was snuffed out within microseconds. The drunk teenage driver of the BMW 3 series panicked and dragged the kid for 20-30 meters before braking to let him fall off. Then he accelerated away from the scene of devastation as the mother dropped to her knees. The father ran and picked up his boy. But the spark of life had left his delicate shell.


His tears and anguished cries tore the shroud of joy from those around and grief dawned on all those who realized what had transpired. This little tableau of horror had to happen on the happiest of nights. This was supposed to be his happiest Diwali yet. Why him? Why today? He asked an unfeeling or non-present God. Randomness had claimed another victim on this most happy of nights. The festivities raged on in the city but this family and their neighborhood was quietened by the cruel hand of fate.

The quiet that clutches the heart tightly and squeezes the joy out of existence. The celebrations they could still hear seemed like a cruel mockery of their fate. But as it was, is and shall be life goes on and every tragedy is brushed under the carpet of tomorrow. For the search for new joy begins anew each day and sooner or later they would have to search again. All the time struggling to forget this most grievous of pains. Such is life.

By-Aseem Mahajan

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