The Crack(er) this Season

Is it a collective observation that the mood of the festive season seems, well, rather low? Any other year would have seen this as disturbingly surprising, having finished the pujas and successfully reducing Ravan to ashes…This year too saw the latter happening – but have we actually encountered the ‘evil- eradication’ this year?

The spirits have sure been disrupted this season, and the lull that you can probably sense is perhaps credited to the glowering recession that India has been engulfed by. The real battle against the persistent market – stripper has just begun, and it sure seems a long way to go before the sensex crawls back to the standard it had set. The investors have every reason to question the “prosperity” this Diwali has brought them. The sensex too closed at a gloomy 8,509, falling 2.2%. The meltdown has affected affordability, and as some say, that is No Reason to Celebrate.

Some argue that the financial crisis has no influence on the Diwali bonanza and that we should actually be as enthusiastic as ever before. Well, if that is the case, then how do you explain the all time low festive-season-heavy-discount phenomena this year? There have hardly been any Diwali discounts and distributions this time round, and surely retailers can’t be blamed! Only fools would perceive a goodwill surety and sales-boost promise when the global financial crisis has affected every single commodity and its price in the market today. It is no wonder then that the prices of crackers too have borne the brunt of price rise. The raw materials and the manufacturing costs have increased by about 50% this year. That automatically translates into crackers being luxury purchases. The festival then is sure to be celebrated by re-enforced distribution of love, by lighting smoke-less diyas, as is the fad, and installing fancy flickering lights outside homes, by wishing everyone the best and by conducting Lakshmi pujas with immense devotion. Consider this to be least satirical and most reflective – Are we reverting back to the old ways? Is this a push-back strategy which Providence had in store for us?!

The bomb scare in Delhi has ensured that shops are barred easy licensing for the sale of crackers. As a result, there are only select places where one can splurge for the benefit of keeping up to the name of festival of lights and ‘Sounds’. So much for the blasts across the nation; who could have thought any good could have been extracted from the unfortunate occurrences; it has pulled up the stringency and discipline rate for sure.

Whatever one might say, this sure has had its advantages, when it comes to the environment saving campaign. After the ban on smoking, this might prove another check on pollution in the capital. Also interesting to note is the dip in distribution and serving of Mithai…and no, it will be hard to believe that this has anything to do with the economy graph. It would seem petty to even suggest the compromise of sweets there. What it could be associated with, though, is the waistlines that the urban classes most fashionably want to flaunt. And that can be taken as a new-age health conscious generation’s call.

Dhanteras, the day marking good fortune and luck, was genuinely auspicious this time round… the gold prices have come down from Rs. 13000 per 10 grams to Rs. 12000. This saw the sale of gold increase by 30%, proving all the forecasters wrong where the apprehensions of purchasing gold this season were concerned.

Nevertheless, the usual get-togethers, the card games: which have come to be known as ideal “business” deals owing to the shortfall of existing ones; the guests and relatives dropping in… there is always a fun-filled feat as far as Diwali is concerned! And the fundamentals at the end of the day should not be lost, that is to say, taking pride in the values we associate with this festival. The celebration is offered to homecoming: and we do hope that this Diwali sets the path for an auspicious and rewarding year ahead…

Ankita Kanwar
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