What is it about festivals that turns normal, sane people into hyperkinetic shopaholics/partyhoppers/pyromaniacs?
No, really. If people aren't making lists a mile long with interesting items such as 1) buy crackers; 2) soak diyas; 3) grind arisimaavu for kolam; 4) harass tailor for backless choli; and 5) put reminder for D's card party 9pm, they're doing all of the above. It's very very distressing.
The time I had a dim idea that I hated Diwali was when I was in college and we didn't have long enough vacations to make a long journey home. So I stayed back in the hostel with about ten other people for Diwali, and choked and hacked and coughed the night away, as Delhi went berserk (this was in the days before people became all eco-friendly about crackers). Our hostel being a few feet below road level, and the season generally being cold-ish, all the area's smoke used to pour into the narrow, ill-lit corridors of our hostel. By ten, our eyes were red and if we were foolish enough to wander the corridors, we looked like lost ghosts and felt like shit.
In later years, all the sustained and concentrated air pollution of the season gave me breathing problems that disappeared only when I left Delhi. For the first time in five years, this year I'm having trouble with my breathing at this time of the year. That's because Hyderabad is always ahead with the conspicuous consumption and invariably out of the loop when it comes to issues of pollution or the environment. Though the guys who sell crackers are not allowed to put up their stalls until two days before Diwali, the air's been rent with loud blasts for several days already. For the first time, this morning, I'm going to succumb and get on an inhaler.
I hate Diwali (along with New Year's Eve, Pongal, Holi, blah, blah, blah).
And that reminds me of another grouse: will someone - Veena or BM or some other Tam - please tell me which bright person first thought it would be a good idea to wake up at 4am, wake up the neighbourhood with a ladi, put oil and bathe with shikakai and all, get tricked out in new clothes, burst more crackers, eat leghiyam and bakshanam and call relatives all over the country all before sunrise?
Oh god. I hate all festivals.
km: I promise to catch my breath - really catch it properly - and do the K Post. Later today. Stay tuned.