Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's over, and my eardrums rejoice!

Hindu gods are deaf as posts.

No, think about it. You have the Easters, the Ids, the Christmases, the assorted Guru Purabs, but do you ever, ever hear them make such an infernal racket the likes of which the Hindus do?

(And you’re not religionist if you’re bitching about your own religion. Or the one you were born into, at any rate)

A festival (and we goddamn NEVER run out of those) just has to peek around the corner, and we’re at it. Bhajans at fucking full volume, fireworks – at ear-splitting decibel-levels, processions that block traffic for miles around.

What is it with us? WHY must our all our celebrations entail behavior the barbarians would have frowned upon? Come on people, thirty-three-million gods – surely ALL of them can’t be deaf??


It’s…let me see, sixteen days since diwali and this weekend, this is the first weekend since the goddamn beginning of November, that I have been able to sleep.

And sleep deprivation does not a happy Chronic Skeptic make. I mope, I jump at loud noises (and since there are so many of those, I’m pretty much jumping every five minutes), and when I can’t take it any more, I lean out of my window, shake my fist and yell at the sons of Satan. Of course, since there’s no chance they can hear me from eight floors up, I’m just shaking my fists and screaming into the night. Which does nothing except worry the neighbours. There’s a reason why their children shrink away from me if I happen to meet them in the elevator.

I hate most Hindu festivals. I hate them in the bitchiest, most horrible, the-bloody-natives-are-at-it-again way. But diwali, now there’s something special. I hate the noise, I hate the pollution and there haven't been religious reasons for a long time now. Lakshmi - the moolah, the dough, cashola - has always come and gone as she liked and Ram, Mr. Maryada Purushottam himself, was too much of an asshole to have his return celebrated.

The sweets are too sweet (and there are too many of them), you have to smile at complete strangers and your goddamn inbox overflows with mass-forwarded diwali greetings (there are few things that piss me off more than mass-forwarded greetings. Honestly, is there a better way of telling me you couldn’t care less if you tried?).

Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, doesn't matter where you go, It's hell everywhere.

But I remember a couple of diwalis spent in Delhi. Oh they started off just the same. The kids would start lighting their phuljadis at around seven, and then the adults would join in, getting progressively noisier, drunker and more competetive as the night wore on.

"Achcha? Unhone do-hazaar-ki-ladi lagayi hai?? Hum paanch hazaar ki lagayenge!"

And they'd go off to collect all the ladis from the neighbouring houses, twist them into one massive string, and then light the fuse.

It would go on forever. The noise, like machine-gun fire.

But sometimes, if you stayed up long enough, till they ran out of their hazaaron-ki-ladiyan, and bombs and fizzy rockets. Till their savage children tired and trooped back into their houses, leaving the streets looking like a war zone. Till the silence slowly settled along with the fog and the smoke, you'd see what was the beginning of winter. You'd see it as it breathed into the night, cold, soft, misty around the edges. Sharp in your lungs, a slight sting your nostrils as you breathed in. You'd see it surround the diyas, the candles or the fairy lights - the ones on your balcony in sharp focus, the rest, fading into smaller and smaller circles of downy soft light.


Falstaff said...

With you all the way, except that I hate Holi even more than I hate Diwali.

And yes, mass-forwarded greetings are pathetic. My favorite one this year was an ex-colleague who mailed me out of the blue to wish me joy and 'propserity' in the year to come. I mean if you're fuckwit enough to be saying these things in the first place, and sending them to everyone in your Inbox, at least have the intelligence to spellcheck the damned thing first.

ggop said...

Gah, my uncle actually remarked on how lame the fireworks were in America and how we do it so well in India with "such pomp and splendour".


Anonymous said...

Chronicus Skepticus has finally spoken again! :-)I would suggest standing near your window with a bucket of water the next time instead of screaming your lungs out!Oh and how was the blogger's brunch this time around?

-The Fan.

??! said...

You know what's worse? The playing of film songs at full blast, instead of bhajans. Do you have any idea just how many times they played Dhoom back in 2004?

and why would I be from Jodhpur?

Anonymous said...

i can imagine all the halla gulla stuff that you are saying annoys you but i don't understand why you decided to say bad things about God!!! I hate you!!!

sougata said...

That above anonymous comment was really me.

Before the meds kicked in.

Pardon him.

I mean... pardon me.

Sorry, I mean, pardon me!!!

Rachna said...

My vote goes to the Jagraatas which are held in the streets (atleast in small towns anyway).
They are literally Jagraatas for everybody for MILES around. Even if you are not invited, don't know the people or anything.
They have kept me awake and ffffuming!

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Cal wasn't so bad. I actually got to watch THREE pretty fireworks displays. One of which was aasumm.


iz said...

Thankifully Bangalore was not as bad as Bombay gets. But I fail to see the joy of listening to so much noise.

??! said...

"I will be more regular in blogging".

Ha, we say, ha!
And in case you didn't get that...ha*!

* Presuming all is well health-wise etc. Otherwise, much sympathies.

Balajee said...

Oh c'mon.. this is not all that bad.. you could be fucking cutting a goat's head for a celebration.. Or maybe slice a friggin turkey and hold your hands in prayer.. eat your tasteless food, and live your quiet life..

Basically what you really want is exactly what is there in the US.. everyone be civil.. don't make any noise.. say your hellos and have-a-great-days.. and if you don't like it, show them your finger and express your total dis-pleasure.. no pollution.. no fun..

Easy solution.. move.

Sarcasticus Minimus said...

I'm not sure if you drive, Chronicus Skepticus. If you do, I'm sure you would have noticed that the average pedestrian on the street is hard of hearing. They respond neither to your engine hum nor your blaring horn. The bible proclaims that "God made man in his own image". No holy book can ever be untrue (proof by self-reference). Ergo, it is hardly surprising that hindu gods are deaf. In fact, if you have been paying close attention, the dogs, cattle and elephants that roam our streets also suffer from the same affliction, perhaps for the same reason (we all know God is polymorphic and amorphous at the same time). The recreation of Fallujah in our backyard is as much to get past God's auditory impediment as ours - which also explains why desis on average feel the need to speak so much louder than ppl from other countries. Also why we need loudspeakers for pujas.

??! said...

are you going to come back soon?ntu

Chronicus Skepticus said...

Depends on what you consider 'soon'.

(On a less smart-aleck-y note *sigh*, I really don't know)

But hey, you're *such* a sweetie for checking. :)

Tabula Rasa said...

we're all checking, so you better be saving.

Saltwater Blues said...

long time. how's our girl doing?

Arthur Quiller Couch said...

Diwali was a Black Hole? You imploded?

??! said...

So you pop in for a couple of comments and then disappear? How can work possibly be that bad?

Chronicus Skepticus said...

Umm...I'm sort of wondering if there a point in replying to *all* the comments here.

To summarise, I was stuck in a bitch of a job. I am now out of it. Blogging should happen.

Thank you for sticking around, or even dropping in to check. You're all sweethearts.

avagdro said...

Thanks for sharing.Wish you n all a Happy Diwali in advance.

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