High decibel levels have always resulted in a migrane and since childhood I've always cringed silently at noisy pubs/discos, honking while speeding, loud music and other public noise pollutants. So what is it about Indians being noisy in any celebration? --whether its a marriage or ganesh chaturthi or divali or holi or just about any event ; most Indians think its their public birthright to keep a loudspeaker facing your home because they are the truest custodians of your religion. Gee, isnt a festival supposed to spread cheer, kindness and generosity instead of noise ?!

The maximum pollution is reserved for dipavali -- the firecrackers noise and pollution from chemicals fumes that one is subjected to, whether its the horrid sutli-lakshmi bombs (that was what it was called when i was a kid and i detested the chemical fumes and noise) intended to awaken the neighborhood at 3:30 am or pre-pubescent boys thinking its oh-so-funny to burst fire crackers as women walk past or train a rocket at someone's home as a prank -- Ever heard of a fire hazard !?!

Its strange how people can become a public nuisance under the guise of celebration and indulge in public displays of wealth. In grade4 I had read a news report on small children in sivakasi being exploited to make crackers and seeing pictures of their hands with boils made me resolve that I'd never touch a phuljadi or buy firecrackers (I had also resolved to not wear silk or use leather objects but was forced to give these two up after I outgrew my teenage years) which didnt go down well with my family and especially with school friends who thought peer pressure and jeering would make me change my mind. Didnt happen, this one made it :)

Over the years I used to wonder if we will ever learn to celebrate in silence and despite not foisting my beliefs/thoughts about chemical pollution on others, when I read about school kids being more aware of their environment a few days ago, life came to a full circle -- Eight-year old Mitul Mehta is my favorite!