Thursday, 29 November 2012

Delhi Diwali: For them

(Texts and photos by Pupps Roy)

1am. Diwali night in Delhi. Diwali is over for all of us. everyone has gone off to sleep. But the celebration still continues for the have-nots of our society. Meet Sanju, he is the domestic help of a rich family in the GK area. He wants to celebrate the festival of lights and fire. Even though Diwali is over he is still ecstatic with his Diwali do and why not, Diwali comes once a year. Irrespective of the social division between the poor and riches the excitement is sky high for everyone. He is searching some skyshots, crackers, anaars that have not burnt properly or thrown away carelessly by some rich kids so that he can use them and bring on Diwali. He is wading through the heaps of crackers waste, Cardboard and paper litter scattered near every house with the help of a stick. Hope he finds some!

'I love diwali and I love fireworks. Just wait and see.' He lights up like a skyshot. He spoke like a storm now is gone and busy with joy and Diwali enthusiasm. His mom is watching his son from a distance with her saree that she covered her nose and ears to protect from cold and pollution. It gets quite chili at this of the year in Delhi. Some people are still burning crackers even after the deadline declared by Delhi Police. How many abide by law in Delhi? Only Jude Law works! Sanju comes back with handful of crackers and other diwali fiework stuff. Its enough to keep him busy for 15 minutes. There he goes lighting them. His mom cusses him and follows him around and asks not to go very close to the fire crackers. Her name is Meena and she too works in the same house as a cleaner.

"We are from Muzaffarbad and its so nice that they kept us here" Meena says with a deep breath. They are poor but they are happy. Or its just Diwali in the air and their happiness reflects in their face. Its risky to light the crackers that have not burned properly. The wicks are almost gone. But Sanju won’t listen. He is a superman in a joyful state and he can do anything. "You know parents wont change, children wont listen". Meena is right. We all pass through the same phase in life. Sanju feigns a superhero character from a TV commercial. He carries 10 kilos of Atta in one hand and also lugs a big bag of vegetables in another. He walks from GK to Aiims and back twice a week to save the bus fare. He runs and fetches tennis balls for his employer's son during his entire tennis lesson.

Boom. Zooot Bang! Theere is Sanju's skyshot. It glows like a flower in the darkest sky. His mother claps and Sanju jumps in joy. He goes on lighting an Anaar. His ma warns him not to go too close to the crackers while lighting them. There it is. He finishes his diwali crackers one by one, bit by bit. Mother shouts at Sanju, "let’s go and sleep now. Lot of cleaning to be done tomorrow morning”. Sanju stares back and gives the best smile in the world and disappears with his mom behind the huge wooden gate.  Happy Diwali!

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