Thursday, October 12, 2017

I Don't Want A Green Deepawali

I tell Anna that we can take him home
from Neptune Hospital on 1st Oct 2017.
He is pleased.

I don't want a green Deepawali. Yet I want a reduction in air pollution. I am conflicted and am finding it hard to choose a side.

I truly, truly believe, and have advocated for, more stringent controls to improve the quality of air

I have to weigh the destruction of the environment, with wanting to give my father, my dying father, something that will surface pleasant memories. Pleasant memories, that I hope, have the strength to sweep Dementia fog away. It's all the more important now that he has just returned from hospital.

Anna was discharged from hospital on 2nd Oct. He had a severe bronchial infection, that  galloped from a slight fever to a compromised lung & wheezing in just 24 hours. It was so bad that I could hear him struggling to breathe from the front door. Thankfully, he spent only 8 days in hospital, all but 1 day, zoned out and unresponsive. He's back home now, 5 kgs less, stiff as a board, not eating much, and speaking about 10 cogent words in a day.

Anna in happier times
Each illness sets Anna back so much that I wonder whether he will ever recover and be his old self. Whatever that old self is, for it is not the vibrant, laughing man he was, before Parkinson's and Dementia kidnapped him in front of our eyes.

Now, when Anna responds to me, I feel good. Tho' 10 softly spoken words are not much, it's better than nothing. I think he is looking sad, but he hasn't said anything. What worries me is that he wants to say something but can't. It's terrible. Just imagining it frightens me. It can only be worse, much worse, for Anna.

I decide to pep Anna up by telling him that Deepawali is around the corner. Deepawali has a special place in Anna's heart. 
First because of the lights. For days before Deepawali, we wheel Anna around the colony so that he can look at all the houses, bedecked with strings of lights - straight lights, dancing lights, bling lights, reflecting globes, strobe lights. Each house uniquely lit up and wanting to show-off a part of their owners' soul.

The second reason Anna loves Deepawali is because of the simple, childlike excitement of lighting crackers. Last year, like a little boy, Anna asked me twice a day, every day, for a month, when Deepawali was! He told me about how he and his brother made firecrackers in their childhood. This year there are going to be no stories. There are going to be little or no crackers given the Supreme Court's ban on the sale of crackers in Delhi.

Anna's favorite Vishnu Chakhra
I know we want to reduce the amount of pollution that will blanket the city. The pollution that will make our eyes water and throats dry. A living pollution that is killing us, inside out. 

But, Anna has a few pleasures in life and a few years to live. Maybe just a year. Is it really so bad for me to want to light 6 sparklers, 4 chakras and 4 flower pots to cheer him up? I have crackers left over from last year, and lighting them will just add a soup├žon of pollution. 

I really want to burn crackers for Anna. 

But can I, in good conscience, given our air pollution problem? 

Should I? 

Will I? 


  1. I can relate to this mother suffered from lung problems. Last year she was admitted to hospital just a day after Diwali. She returned home in 15 days, but left for her heavenly abode the very next morning.

    And yes I don't want a Green Deepawali either. It's another thing that we are not celebrating this year.

  2. Sigh..!! These are such degraded times we live in. By the time we reach Anna's age (if we ever do) I think such dilemmas will be sheer luxury. Instead, perhaps wearing gas masks to step out will probably be as common as mobile phones. I shudder to think what our next generation is going to face when they are our age. Thankfully, most of us will have departed by then. Just as well our previous generation is either oblivious of the degradation or already departed while the going was good.

    Well, if the sparklers trigger some new sparkle in your lives, just do it. Environment can yet be cleaned up later, but the here and now is all you have for the ebbing sparkle of life. So just do it..create happy memories.. they probably help you more than a clean environment does .. to live better and longer.

  3. Happy Diwali to Anna, Sanjiv, you and the rest of the family. God Bless.