October 14, 2003
Off-sick and Diwali

It started to develop last week - I was in a meeting at the office with a couple of people who were noticably suffering from a cold. That’s how I must have caught it. Throughout the rest of the week it got a little worse - but nothing that I couldn’t cope with. Over the weekend it seemed to get better - but yesterday morning I started wilting away in the office. I just couldn’t concentrate. I left office early - got home and ended up going to bed early - tried to sweat it out last night - but I’m feeling extremely rotten this morning. This is the first day I’ve taken off-sick in a long time - and come to think of it - one of my first day’s off doing nothing in a long time. Perhaps it’s all just catching up with me. What makes it worse is that it’s a beautiful sunny day outside. Messing around in Photoshop. This picture sums up my current state of being:

My current state of being

Yesterday my mum called me up and asked if we could go over to her place for Diwali - you see; this year Diwali falls on a weekend - not this coming weekend - but the weekend after- Oct 25th. My parents Live in Leicester - and Leicester City Council organises the largest celebratory Diwali event outside India! The highlights include a spectacular funfair and fireworks in a recreational park in Belgrave Road area of Leicester - which is where I was raised as a kid. (It’s funny - because when we first moved to Leicester, from Crawley, as a family - it was a thriving centre for the National Front and anti-immigration - now it’s heading towards being the only city in UK with a non-white majority. Read this fascinating essay on Leicester’s remarkable history.)

Anyway - back to my Mum and her Dwiali invitation. I, regretfully, had to tell her that we would not be coming. Why? Because a couple of years ago on Diwali night a rocket firework came smashing through our plastic conservatory roof at the back of the house - and just missed hurting Ms.79. Last year, I heard several rockets hit my house roof - and my car (which is parked outside) was covered with firework debris. And I found at least 20 remains of dead fireworks in my back garden. The night of Diwali causes a thick, polluting, fog of firework smoke to hang over our neighbourhood until the next morning - whereupon the streets will be littered with dead fireworks. I have heard stories from other neighbours of rockets coming through a tile roof - of accidental fires being started - and windows smashing from the shock-wave effects of exhibition-class fireworks being set off in small urban gardens with very dense housing. This is why I declined my Mum’s invitation. I need to be at home to protect my property.

And this is the thing that really annoys me - why is it that we supposedly responsible Asian folks in our neighbourhood (London NW9) buy EXHIBITION-CLASS fireworks (yes - the type that are meant to be used in publicly organised exhibitions in large open spaces) and use them in tiny back gardens? And why is it that we choose to set these off at insane times of the evening - like at one-o-clock in the morning for example? And why is that we choose to do this every night for 10 nights either side of Diwali night itself? Saving the biggest and most powerful ones for Diwali night. Why? Not only do we run the risk of causing damage to other people’s property - we also cause misery to the elderly, ill, or very young - who are trying to sleep at the times of night that we choose the cause these almighty explosions. (I will record the sounds of Diwali night and put it up right here so that you can hear what I mean for yourself.)

I don’t mean to be a killjoy - but there is something TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE in setting off exhibition-class fireworks in small back yards. There is something TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE in pointing your exhibition-class rockets away from your own back garden, knowing full well that it will crash-land on somebody else’s house or body several 100 metres away. And it is TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE to be doing this so late at night.

I have, on, numerous occasions in the past - written to my local Member of Parliament - (see Barry Gardiner MP’s press release on nuisance fireworks) and my local Councillors - and my local Police departments - requesting that the TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE selling (by the TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE traders in Ealing Road Wembley) of exhibition-class fireworks to incompetent members of the public be made illegal, that a firework noise curfew be enforced for after 10:30pm - and for the local Police to encourage comunicating a “Diwali celebration code of conduct” to the incompetent people in the neighbourhood who need to be educated in the details of responsible behaviour.

Once my anger has subsided - I often wonder if I am just being a philistine?

A diva

Happy Diwali to everybody.

Posted by jag at October 14, 2003 12:19 PM

i hate it too… well the whole firework thing is what i’m talking about. a couple of doors down we have a few neighbours who think it’s brilliant to buy those huge fireworks and let them off at 2am.

one night one of them decided it was a good idea to take a lit one into the shed where they store all of them! needless to say it didn’t end well. it gets so smokey it’s unbelievable.…

it’s sad to think that our new year can just go so well, wrong.

Posted by: Jaina on October 14, 2003 09:12 PM

First of all, hope u r feeling better. I think, subtle energy is at play here coz this is the 3rd blog entry I am reading today about sickness (incl.mine):…(

I am surprised that the police don’t have laws about fireworks. In Dubai, they allow fireworks only until a certain time…forget what time now though I rbr the police wd be on regular patrols and entire localities, especially in Bur Dubai, wd be full of smoke and the air wd be thick with noxious fumes.

Posted by: Ritu on October 15, 2003 03:57 AM

Jaina: too right. I have nothing against fireworks per se - it’s just a shame on our community that we go way over the top with them - and like you have seen for yourself - with complete disregard to others. It’s almost as if a “my firework is louder and more explosive than yours” thing ripples through the neighbourhood.

Ritu: Getting better thanks. Hope you are too! There is some new legislation being passed through parliament re fireworks - it has been in the works for a few years (and funnily enough - has been championed by my local MP) - but until that becomes law - the police simply shrug their shoulders and say that people setting off fireworks are not intending to cause damage (no wilful intent) - and they are not doing it every day (so cannot be classified as a nuisance).

Hey ho.

Posted by: Jag on October 15, 2003 07:25 AM

Get well!

Posted by: Lisa on October 15, 2003 08:22 AM

Trying Lisa!

Posted by: Jag on October 15, 2003 09:37 AM

HEy jag! get well soon! Ya people in India go over board with the crackers stuff. But i like bursting mild crackers…i.e.which dont make a hell of a noise coz i can’t imagine Diwali without crackers. Have u ever celebrated Diwali in India Jag? If u haven’t u gotta come here at least once coz Diwali is a real big occasion in India. Anyways take care and seeya!!!!!!

Posted by: Shobha on October 15, 2003 03:35 PM

i live in India (mumbai to be precise) and Diwali is complete madness.
The next day you can’t breathe - the air is thick with the remanents of whatever chemicals they use in the crackers

Diwali is a festival of lights, don’t know how it ended up as the festival of sounds :)

Happy Diwali to you

Posted by: gargi on October 16, 2003 06:58 AM

Hope you are feeling better Jag!

Happy Diwali to you.. I am missing the crackers here at Bournemouth.. in any case i wouldn’t go for the exhibition-type but only the mild ones.. But again, my neighbourhood is surrounded with lot of old age homes and even the mild crackers would be a hindrance to the old folks..

Posted by: Chakra on October 16, 2003 10:25 AM

Shobha: I, too, cannot imagine Diwali without fireworks/crackers. It definitely is part and parcel of the celebration these days. Although I do remember the days when you probably weren’t even born Shobha: we used to celebrate by just lighting divas to put around our house - and then doing “sparklers” in the garden! I haven’t been to India for long time - and have never witnessed Diwali there - but I can imagine it being quite an event. Do you have a national holiday in India for Diwali? In UK - we do not - so when Diwali falls on a weekday - most people still have to go to work the next day - which makes “over the top” celebrations quite irritating. If we had a holiday here - I wouldn’t mind so much.

Posted by: Jag on October 16, 2003 10:56 AM

Gargi: Hello - and many thanks for visiting here! The “chemical fog” seems to be highly localised to the areas with high Indian population - which in London is mostly Southall and Wembley/Kinsgbury (latter is where I live). But because of tendency for changeable weather at this time of year - the fog generally, rapidly disperses the next day. Yes - I have a distinct impression that, around here anyway, Diwali has become a festival of “who can make the loudest sounds” !

Posted by: Jag on October 16, 2003 11:01 AM

Chakra: Getting much better thanks. Yes - it appears that you have a problem where you are. I suppose you will have to resort to using sparklers! Or perhaps just a couple of divas in your window. :-) Maybe you could invite some of the older folks to your place for some laddoo, barfi or jalebi? I’m sure it might be an interesting experience for them - and for you to blog about!

One thing I have learned from this discussion is that what in UK we call “fireworks”, in India - you call “crackers”. I think I much prefer the term “cracker”. Or in some cases - maybe they should be referred to as “bombs”.

Posted by: Jag on October 16, 2003 11:06 AM

Oh ya, it definitely is a national holiday! Infact schools and colleges have a month long vacation..So am actually enjoying my vacations now! :)

Posted by: Shobha on October 17, 2003 05:47 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?

You MUST preview this comment first!
(Apologies but I'm trying to keep the spam-bots out.)

Powered By: Movable Type | Blog Styles | Love Productions | bradchoate.com | SmartyPants | Linux | MT-Blacklist | MySQL | Zeus | Easyspace
© 2002, 2003, 2004 Route79.com - London (UK). Most Rights Reserved. Syndicate this site (XML)