Happy Diwali, all you babus who are green about the gills from gorging on kickbacks in greenbacks. Happy Diwali, all you bibis who are regarding the new genetically modified brinjal with shock and awe. Happy Diwali, all you innocents who got screwed over by the remote and monstrously inscrutable forces of the recession, who are being told that the happy days are back but your payslips and grocery bills say they’re not. Happy Diwali, all you deluded souls who splurged on geegaws and overpriced gold just to keep up with the Joneses — or the Dhingras or the Dhindsas, or whatever your tropical equivalent is. And Happy Diwali, all you recalcitrant Naxalites, whom the panjandrums of the Home Ministry will pursue with all the bang-bangs at their command after the festival.
Pardon my black mood. I hope the Diwali weekend cures it. Lights, friends, music, food, sweets… Oh, you have diabetes? Ah, well, who doesn’t these days? But it’s the season for giving, so find joy in stuffing your children. What, your obese son has diabetes, too? Chips and cola, and Grand Theft Auto instead of kabaddi, eh? Your brat would have slimmed down like a shot if everyone called him a fat boy, which he is. But he’s denied the vaccine now. Political correctness. These imports will be the death of us.
Talking of imports, here’s a bit of cheer. Diwali means it’s time to take your suits and silks out of mothballs. Excellent — one of the leading irritants of summer will vanish. I refer to the dudes and dudettes on TV, who present the news in woollen suits and shantung-like jackets right through the summer. I wonder how many megawatts are burned to keep those dudes cool when it’s 45 degrees outside. It’s particularly trying when they piously harangue you about green issues. It makes you yearn for the cool grace of Salma Sultan. But now, I guess they’ll look at home in their suits.
Yes, we must learn grace in the season of giving. So Happy Diwali, Beijing. We aren’t big-hearted enough to give you Arunachal yet, but have a blast anyway. A conventional blast, please, not a nuclear blast powered by A.Q. Khan. Oh yes, one mustn’t neglect to wish the Pakistanis, because of whose unflagging attentions the whole Indo-Pak border is lit up like a string of Diwali lights so bright that from the air, you can see it all the way from troubled Afghanistan. And thanks so much, President Obama, for lighting a Diwali lamp in the White House while you’re still so busy with Afghanistan. You’re living up to Oslo’s expectations. But… it’s the season of giving all right, but could you give a little less to the Pakistanis for a change? They have such a talent for turning aid into things that go bang.
Actually, I think I got into this vile mood because there’s too much bang everywhere except in Diwali. It’s now bad form to make a ruckus. Fireworks are dangerous. Crackers are vulgar. Think of the pollution, thunder the heated dudes in suits. Maybe I should leave all this political correctness behind and go to a small town, where they haven’t forgotten the old ways. Meanwhile, you have a happy, clean Diwali.
Pratik Kanjilal is publisher of The Little Magazine
The views expressed by the author are personal