I love Bangalore, but walking down the street on a normal day can be sensory overload. Between the traffic, the horns, the smells, gaping holes in the sidewalk tiles, the cows and the cow pies, it would suffice to say that there’s a lot going on. Add crackers into the mix and the experience goes to a whole new level.
Crackers are tiny little fireworks, similar to what children and adults alike play with in the US for the 4th of July. Some are small and spew sparks everywhere making them pretty to look at. Others, called bombs, are exactly that. Light the fuse, run, and 5 seconds later there is a flash of light and a noise loud enough to leave your ears ringing if you did not cover them fast enough. I assume since these don’t emit any pretty sparks that they are cheaper, making them a good option to stock up on if you want to buy as many crackers as possible on a budget. And the first rule of Diwali: buy as many crackers as you can.
Seeing all of the kids in front of my house and in the streets by my office lighting these ‘bombs’ and running away makes me feel like the grumpy, old lady in a cartoon who yells “Hey! Quiet down!” to the playing children in the next yard. Or the grumpy old man in Friends who in the apartment below Monica and Rachel. The one that hits the ceiling with a broom every time they make noise. Though I never actually say anything (nor do I hit things with a broom), I still think it in my head – I’m old. In my defense, these are set off on the sidewalk or in the middle of the road, so any time you walk around the corner you could potentially step on one, or get hit by a flying one. It’s exactly what you think would happen when you give explosives to children on a small, busy road at nighttime. Motorcycles driving down the small streets have watch out for the dim glow of the fuses in the night to avoid running into them. And – don’t leave your windows open! Some of these fly…
Modi, the Prime Minister of India, issued a statement asking people to light candles instead of crackers this holiday because of the negative environmental impact that crackers have. I am told there are fewer crackers than normal because of this, but it sure doesn’t seem like it to me. Once the sun went down, my neighborhood sounded like a war zone. The view from on top of the roof, however, safely out of the way of the bombs and crackers below provided a great view of some actual fireworks in the distant night sky. And watching the kids below having fun in the streets was nice, too. Just as long as I’m out of the way. Luckily, it rained for about 72 hours straight prior to Wednesday night, so everything was good, wet, and inflammable. Happy Diwali! 🙂
Mesmerized by the light
Freddy trying to light some rooftop crackers
This is the inside of my bus home on Wednesday night. You can see the steering wheel in the bottom right corner. This guy wasn’t joking around with his decorations! Listening to Hindi music, watching fireworks in the distant night sky and being surrounded by decorations like these certainly put you in the festive spirit. Almost makes you forget you’re packed on the bus stuck in traffic…