Gold to dust

Saturday, 27 February 2010 - 11:51pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
And go back to being a nation proud of our capacity for introspection, proud of our ecological diversity, proud of our heritage.

How sad it is that every little thing we do in this, the 21st century, turns gold to dust.

Our festivals have become excuses for revelry of a very ungodly nature, with noise and the bursting of crackers drowning out any religious sentiment that may linger in an unsuspecting mind.
Our cities have become concrete jungles where, forget about dreams of finding gold on the streets, instead we see the spectre of want crowding our minds with fear.

Every year, as the chill of Winter drew back to let Spring skirt gracefully by before the blaze of Summer set in, I worried about the trees.

Time was when it was fine to burn a small fire of dried wood to symbolically burn away evil and to welcome the sun back into our lives.

But that soon transformed into a devastastion where healthy trees were stripped of branches so fires could burn as the music rang out loud and clear to add to the revellers’ celebrations.

Today, Holi comes round and we worry not just about trees. We worry about the colours used, as chemicals mingle freely with natural pigments, and everything from aluminium paint to tar is seen as permissible colouring.

Today, we worry about the danger to sight and hearing, and to our own safety. The give and take of fun and colour has become, in true terrorist style, a game of ambush and attack: water filled balloons are thrown from multi-storey buildings by children whose parents do not know they should teach them not to attack
the unwary.

Today, Holi means rain showers from tanker sprays,
and so what if the city is slowly being starved of ground water as the tube wells in the many new high rise complexes snake their way deeper and deeper into the earth.

The film scene has become synonymouswith real lifestyles, and there is little room for natural feelings and celebrations any more.

So too with other festivals. Come Ganesh Puja time and we have to start worrying about polluted waters, dying fish and of course the damage the noisy pandal loud speakers do to our ears.

Ditto the Durga Puja, the Kali Puja, the Valmiki Puja… in fact, there seems to be a sudden spurt in the numbers of idol makers in this city, and every festival includes an idol procession from almost every locality.

Then there are the 1,000-headed crackers and the noisy bombs, all of which continue to ring loud and clear despite bands and  the noise made by the anti-noise campaigners, whether it is a wedding, a college function or a religious event.

When will we see reason again?

And go back to being a nation proud of our capacity for introspection, proud of our ecological diversity, proud of our heritage.

Maybe, when we find the time from all this revellery to understand what our heritage is, then!

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