Deepavali samayadalli aaguvudu NOISE
Aa samayadalli hedaruvavu NAAYIS !
– RK uvacha (dedicated to all the Dogs)
The strong smell of crackers have already started spreading across my street. I love the smell of crackers. Just like I love the aroma of sizzling hot Bhajjis, fresh brewn coffee, biscuits and cakes, sweet smell of the soil after a shower, the fresh scent from a new notebook page, the holy smell of Sambhrani smoke, the healing smell of Vicks inhalation, the strong smell of Pakodas emanating from a roadside stall, the masculine smell of Petrol, Dettol and the fresh smell of wood at a carpenter’s workplace… the list is endless.
In my childhood days, every year I used to ask my father why he never bought me crackers. He would tell me that my last uncle would get a few for me. And that would be the end of the argument. A small packet of select crackers would what my uncle get every year until I entered the teens. Seeing him on the festival day with a cover of crackers was itself thrilling! Till I was six or seven years old, he used to light the atom bombs and hydrogen bombs. Before he left, I would have almost burst most of the crackers – keeping some inside a coconut shell, some inside an old Dalda Dabba and some in a rat hole. My grandmother would shout “Keep a few for Tulasi Habba”. Hesitantly, I would keep 3 flower pots, 2 Sursurbatthi and 4 Bijlis. And on the day of the Tulsi Habba, it would have become 1 flower pot, 1 sursurbatthi and 1 bijli.
Collecting the left over patakis after the festival from across the street was a festival in itself. And only a select few (read the ‘unfortunate few’ who had no family backup to buy crackers) would be assigned the task of collecting them ‘coz they had to have an eye for detail, and be sharp in identifying the potential fellas who had escaped getting fired! It required some amount of experience to segregate noisy fellas from the ‘tuss’ fellas. The slightly scared boys who some of us always thought had secret plans to score better marks than us and who still wanted to be a part of ‘Operation Diamond Rocket’ were supposed to collect the gun capes that had missed the trigger – these capes would now have to face the ignominy of getting smashed by a crude shaped stone from a member of our enemy camp. Hearing some totally different sounds, seeing the rockets take off horizontally on the deserted roads, and the sense of accomplishment after seeing all crackers totally burnt to ashes was pure fun! It was complete value for money. By the end of this exercise, our hands would have all become silver colored. And our clothes would smell of patakis for atleast another day.
Fast forward. Last week, after he bowled the third delivery, my son wiped the sweat on his forehead and made it clear that he wanted the crackers by Wednesday. But I told the festival was only on Friday. Today afternoon, he called me when I was busy choosing a font for a poster design and demanded an explanation as to why his task was not completed in time. He anyway gave instructions as to what crackers we needed to buy at least by Friday early morning.
Different eras. Same scene. The only difference is – I used to ask my dad as to why he never bought me crackers for the festival, and this fellow asks why I never buy crackers until the day of the festival.