Sunday, November 3, 2013

It is Diwali tonight. I went out to the terrace to watch the fireworks. There are rockets that rise up like squiggly-tailed comets and explode in showers of red, green and yellow sparks. The houses on our street are lit up. The one on our right in a mesh of multicoloured, blinking lights, the one on our right is lined with what are shaped like oil lamps, but glow through the night without a single flicker. Our house is dark save for one lamp above the gate. We are in mourning this year.
The dog came out with me and for a while, he was kept very busy. He would bark at one rocket before being distracted by another whistling past. A thousand-shot thunderbomb finally silenced him: he couldn't get a bark in edgewise.
It sounds like a thousand drummers are all playing while very drunk. There are beats, high pitched and low, with rapidly changing patterns. The steady beat every two seconds is from one of those crackers that goes up once and explodes over and over, sometimes in pink, sometimes in gold and sometimes in red and blue. Then there are whooshes from the flowerpots and hisses from uncoiling fiery snakes. The rockets whistle. A police siren wails.
The air is heavy with gunpowder. Every so often, the fireworks reveal patches of grey smoke in the ruddy sky. It is like the largest palette ever seen: the grey blends into the black and the red while the sprays of green and yellow and blue and pink quickly disappear into the grotesque mix. There is no moon tonight; it did well to keep away. Its brightness has been surpassed, a thousand times over.
Tomorrow, the children will go back to school on streets littered with ash.