Delhi Diwali Greys – A colourful night turns smoggy grey
Delhi Diwali Greys
Diwali in Delhi: A colourful night turns smoggy grey
31 October 2016
- From the sectionIndia
Diwali celebrations in the Indian capital Delhi have seen air pollution rise to hazardous levels after many firecrackers were set off.
Residents awoke from a night of colourful fireworks to find the city covered in a thick grey blanket of smog and authorities warned that pollution levels were critically high.
Diwali, the biggest Hindu festival is often called “India’s Christmas”. It’s a time of cheer, but life also gets unusually busy as families rush to shop for gifts, decorate their houses and throw lavish parties. And nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in the capital, Delhi.
Cartoonist Priya Kuriyan gives her unique take on how the festival is celebrated there.
People start partying at least two weeks before the festival, which is being celebrated on 30 October in the north of India this year. And in Delhi, families often try to outdo each other to throw “the best party in the neighbourhood”. This usually translates to the latest Bollywood hit songs being played at deafening levels, some jaw popping – and bone dislocating – dance moves, and fabulous food.
Show me the money!
Another very Diwali tradition is gambling – a lot of people believe that winning money before the festival brings good luck. Teen Patti (Three Cards), a local variation of poker, is a favourite Diwali game, and the stakes vary from match sticks to some serious big bucks. People throwing their car keys and sometimes even their house keys on to the gambling table is not unheard of.
The cartoon above depicts a man all ready to play some “patti” accompanied by his wife (patni in Hindi).
Chinese boycott? Nah…
Some nationalist groups have been running a serious social media campaign exhorting “patriotic Indians” to boycott Chinese products this festive season to boost domestic manufacturing, but it seems their appeal hasn’t worked. Chinese products, like decorative lights, are relatively cheaper than their Indian counterparts – and everyone knows most Indians can’t resist a good bargain!
Let’s be honest. Sweets (or meetha in Hindi) are what Diwali is really all about. It’s traditional to gift boxes of sweets to friends and family. And when offices, clients, acquaintances and the entire neighbourhood gets into the act, you’re left with what can only be described as a tower of sweets.
Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world, but that doesn’t stop anyone from going out to shop. People are on a mission and a tiny matter like smog is not going to deter them. And for those who are concerned, there are always masks