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Noise may take a backseat, this Diwali

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Also, homeowners employ ‘creativity’ to get their homes refurbished and spanking clean on the big day, writes Gajanan Khergamker

It’s Diwali in the true sense. The festival of lights, which is usually accompanied by the ear-splitting cacophony of fire-crackers from a fortnight preceding the actual festival, has been slowly yet surely watered down by legislation and public will.

The noise seems distinctly lesser, this year. And, it isn’t because of a law banning the noise but because better sense appears to have finally prevailed.
Lighting up our lives, Diwali has arrived once again albeit at a time of fiscal crisis. As the world over, the mood’s a bit sluggish with finance indices looking bleak the festival of light dawns upon Mumbai with a glitter of hope.

At the crack of dawn on Diwali, the skyline along Marine Drive, Worli Seaface, Bandra Reclamation and the city’s myriad beach fronts will be lit up by the sparkle of fire-works.

Not to be bogged down with the nitty-gritty of constraints, a majority of Mumbaikars have used creativity to combat crisis; spared a thought for the old and infirm; devised ways to cut out the noise; got their homes cleaned ‘professionally’ while a handful even left the city to dodge the rise in pollution.

“Loads of creativity peppered with a little practicality…that’s the formula to that perfectly spruced-up Diwali home sans the steep dent in your pocket!” offers interior decorator Jahnavi Shekhar. The problem with most homeowners, says Ms Shekhar, is that they are “poor planners.”

“First things first; all one needed to do was figure out one’s budget and stick to it,” offers Ms Shekhar. “Then, draw up a list of the things that was needed to lend your home that festive look,” she adds.

“Over the years, getting our home painted during Diwali has almost become a ritual,” says PR Consultant Shreya Ghosh. “Not only is painting a messy job, but also an expensive affair,” maintains Ms Ghosh, who finally decided, “to break the ritual” and spruced up her home’s walls with wallpaper instead.

This year, there’re pleasant sounds that have accompanied Diwali…the sound of music interspersed with laughter and joy with the occasional cracker breaking out at regular intervals.

It isn’t as relentless as a decade ago. And thankfully too! Just as there’s a nice, warm feel about festivities, there’s a flipside to them too.

“It would be so nice if this season we learn to be sensitive to other’s feelings instead of being forced to behave ourselves following legislation preventing us from playing loud music or littering the place,” says 43-year-old chartered accountant Dinesh Jain.

“If everyone was as sensitive to another, there would be little reason for trouble at all,” he says.

Sprinkling flowers, rice or gulal onto the streets, passing vehicles or on top of the stray; or playing glaring music at ear-splitting levels or bursting crackers continuously way into the night are all acts of misdemeanour.

“These acts have nothing to do with religion but provide for a socially-acceptable vent to pent-up frustrations and limitations that need to be controlled by the law,” says Jain.

Have you spared a thought for the mute who suffer incessantly during this season?

Right from the sounds that are heard several hundred times louder to their ears down to the physiological damage that their systems have to undergo solely to accommodate that short period of pleasure and entertainment for us.

“It just isn’t fair on them as they don’t quite have a voice in these matters,” says Dr Siloo Bhagwager of PALS (Plant and Animal Lovers’ Society).

It isn’t an easy task getting your home spic ‘n’ span for Diwali especially if there’s nobody to help you go about it.

For those with domestic help, it’s a cakewalk but for the rest of us, spring cleaning during Diwali can become quite a pain in the back…literally speaking!

It’s of little surprise to note that the festive season from Navratri right until Diwali and New Year spells boom-time for Housekeeping and Cleaning Agencies that have mushroomed in the last few years.

“It’s so much easier getting a professional agency to do your home’s cleaning especially during a festive period when you can’t quite ignore a shelf or two simply because it’s out of reach or inconvenient,” says mother of three and homemaker Dhruveni Gosalkar.

“I’ve gone crazy attempting to get my domestic help to do the Diwali cleaning without making a fuss.

“After I realised that it works out to be a straight bargain by way of the bonus and gifts that I’m subsequently bound to give her, I felt that an agency would be preferred,” she says.

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