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Friday, 24 October 2014 00:00

Noise is a sign of Life

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My alarm bell rang up waking me up at 6 in the morning. I sat up awake because

I wanted to see what a morning looks like after Diwali. So i grabbed my camera and staggered along to the balcony, prepared to find a grey dense smog suspending heavy upon the town smelling of gun powder and burnt plastic. To my surprise, it was a lovely morning with a light cool breeze.
It must be an exception i thought. 
Preliminary data that I dug up yesterday tells me that pollution levels spike for 4-6 hours during the night of Diwali (Particulate matter, CO and NO2 go above normal, SO2 remains half of permissible levels). Although it all settles to insignificance on larger scale of things we do in our daily lives 365 days a year, Diwali no doubt produces significant pollution for the given range of time. The road was littered with paper shreds. It's easily biodegradable but I wished everyone cleaned up after themselves post their cracker fun, so that no one will need to put up a pretentious and boisterous "green Diwali" campaign.
Why was I not happy with this preposterous campaign?

The return of gloomy silence this morning made me miss the electric the air had last night. The morning was all so quiet, soon the sound of joy we had last evening will be replaced by the honk of vehicles, generators, factories and alike. This is the sound of slavery and servitude of corporates and that all pervasive web of life. I realised it's going to stay like that until some next festival comes in. The thought hit me, as I recollected my memories of Europe and contrasted it with one I had last evening watching kids play with crackers. The signs of life concealed behind the necessity we call noise.

What I know for sure is that in ancient times, when there were no crackers, the people used to beat drums and similar objects to create some noise. Continued noise is not only annoying, it also adversely affects our mental & physical well being. Industrial and vehicular noise is an example. However noise, in moderation, is life. Noise in moderation is joy.
Silence is simply the mark of a graveyard. The western nations, thanks to this silence, are degenerating into a lifeless depressed societies leading people to binge drinking, self abuse and suicide (check for suicide rates in Europe). Unfortunately our nation too, is slowly turning into a scared mob of whimpering pansies too frightened to make any sound, express any joy, assert themselves. This is no way to live. If nothing, there must at least be a few days of the year when one is allowed to be loud and free. It's usually our festivals that provide us this pass. Detesting even this occasional noise is simply akin to slipping into a glorified cowardly death.
Guess that also takes care of the classic argument "When Shri Rama returned to Ayodhya, there were no crackers, so you should not burst them either".
Yes there were no crackers, but our ancestors were never shy about noise when it was warranted.

In effect, all this so called pollution is simply an unwanted side effect of our celebrations. The whole world does it. We do it on Diwali - they do it on their own festivals. I have seen fireworks on Christmas. And don't even get me started on new year fireworks. Given the global population involved, the pollution is many degrees higher than Diwali. For them, this is just another of excess that they indulge in - just like other luxuries of their first world lives. For us it's another huge fuss.

Those supporting crackers say there are hundreds of sources polluting the earth a million times more than a few hours worth of crackers. The comparison with bigger pollution sources is made not to say that Diwali is not polluting, it's done to make a point - and the point is hypocrisy of this malicious campaign.The hypocrisy of this entire campaign is nauseating given how they're trying to shift focus on smaller things diverting people from actual culprits when it comes to noise and sound pollution.
I have decided that I'm never falling for this ever. I'll find some other way of reducing my carbon footprint, I'll look for lesser consumption and lesser wasteful lifestyle, but I aint compromising on celebrations that keep me alive.


I'll still thank those who campaigned for a cracker free Diwali, giving them the benefit of doubt. If I was them, starting this morning I would:

1) Sell my car to scrape. I'll walk to my work or take a bicycle.
2) File a complain with their office administration how the ACs are a sacrilege for me and will not be tolerated anymore.
3) Say no to all form of non-vegetarian food given their massive carbon footprint
4) Encourage the noble 'green Diwali' campaign and put up a bigger protest against Eid slaughters, Christmas and New year crackers (Since it's done worldwide, unlike Diwali which is mostly in Bharat).
5) Quit smoking, or switch to smokeless alternatives

And while they're up to these measures, I'll try and plant some trees.

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