When Mom Wants Firecrackers and the child doesn’t!
“Mama, I will not burst firecrackers this Diwali,” my son declared recently.
“But why?” I asked. “Last year you wanted them.”
“Not this time,” he said, and didn’t elaborate.
To be honest, I felt a bit let down. Diwali crackers meant revisiting my childhood for me. I used to wait for my father to bring boxes of sparklers, spiral chakras, cone-shaped anaars. I had a healthy fear for the long red string crackers and red and green ladis. The smell of gunpowder would take me to a happy place, and we would dry the crackers out in the sun a few days before Diwali to ensure that they are absolutely cracking to go.
So when my son expressed his desire for a no-cracker Diwali, I felt someone was trying to take my childhood away from me. I needed to find out what made him take such a decision.
I sat next to him as he was eating his snack. “So are you going to tell me?” I asked, hopefully.
“What?” He said, looking at me quizzically.
“Why you don’t want crackers this time?” I was hopeful I could change his mind.
“They showed us a puppet show in school and told us how polluting crackers are and how bad it is birds and animals, so no crackers.” He stated.
“But beta, for the sake of tradition, you won’t light up a few sparklers? The kids in the building will be bursting crackers. Won’t you feel like too?” I pressed on.
He paused for a bit. “No mama, I won’t.”
“But you had the puppet show last year as well, yet you wanted crackers,” I didn’t want to give up.
“I’ll tell you why, mama. The other day when I dropped a glass in the kitchen, Cookie (the dog) ran away in fear. When our house was under renovation, you did not allow us to go near the dust and said, “it will affect your lungs.” You keep telling us not to litter our surroundings and that things flammable things are dangerous.
“Now tell me, would you like it if I came to your house, yelled into your ear, put smoke in your lungs, threw paper and fire in your house and said, ‘Happy Diwali’? No, right? Firecrackers do that to earth. I would rather see firecrackers on TV and eat sweets.” My son finished.
I felt shock and pride at the same time. Yes, we did not think much about the environment during our childhood, but that does not mean we cannot care now. My childhood might have passed, but my son’s childhood is his to enjoy, and if he wants to do so responsibly, then I can only support him because after all, he is right.
So go green this Diwali, it is the need of the hour.
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