Festival of blights

Ah! That time of year again.

Rohan JoshiTerrible news! It’s Diwali. Legend has it that once, Ram came back from the jungle after backpacking for a decade and a half, and to celebrate that, for a week every year everybody’s an asthmatic and nobody is allowed to sleep until Tinku has burst his last Jhil Mil Tara at 4:30 am.

What a fascinating monster Diwali is; a time for love and togetherness smothered under a brazen orgy of noise, money and dry fruits. Like Holi and Ganesh Chaturthi, and most of our festive repertoire, it’s an occasion for many to be vulgarly excessive, while a few claim hollow superiority by not submitting to its charms. We’ve dressed it up in so much nonsense that we’ve forgotten the real point of Diwali; two weeks of No. F***ing. School.

Firecrackers are such an idiotic waste of money they make giant statues seem like a good economic decision. File pic

I got a lot of great Diwali gifts as a child, and one year I was so excited to receive a Nintendo Gameboy that I farted, but school holidays were the gift that kept on giving. Stay up late, wake up later, and in the evening, convene downstairs to light our parents’ money on fire. Firecrackers are such an idiotic waste of money they make giant statues seem like a good economic decision.

Besides, I enjoyed setting them off, but I enjoyed kicking the burnt-out remains around more. But now we can’t enjoy rockets and anaars and that thing with Kareena Kapoor’s face on it anymore. Because we did the one thing guaranteed to ruin any tool of pleasure we found out where they come from.

And predictably enough, they come from the same place investigative journalism awards come from. The good news is, I hear most fireworks in the Indian market today are Chinese, and every body knows Chinese children are made in factories (by other Chinese children), so breathe easy and light that chakri that whistles the Dhoom theme up. And then never breathe again.

But there’s more than one way to miss a point, so if crackers aren’t your thing, there’s always a good consumer frenzy to dive into. The real magic of Diwali is that it reminds you that everything you bought last Diwali is obsolete rubbish. Heartbroken at the epiphany, I have broken up with my 40” LED TV. Luckily I have fallen into the arms of a waiting (and eager) Diwali Dhamaka Sale Offer EXTRAVAGANZA % BLAST CHICKEN LOLLYPOP, who has taught me how to live again.

LED is peasants, now I must have a UHD 4K TV, which is 900 times more HD than my last TV and thirty times clearer than the human eye itself. It only costs Rs 18 lakh, and besides, since I can’t even afford a glass of water anymore, those kidneys are just a waste of space. I will gaze at it lovingly in the car we will live together in. Of course I will never turn it on because there are exactly three videos in the world right now of 4K quality, and two of them are of giraffes eating leaves.

But even then, there’s always a Bollywood Diwali blockbuster to cheer me up, like Kkrrisshh 3: The Fellowship of The Numerologists. It stars Hrithik Roshan as a superhero, and Priyanka Chopra as whatever prop other people in Hrithik Roshan movies are reduced to.

It also stars Vivek Oberoi as an incapacitated man with a mental disorder, which is great because I love docudramas. What I do not love is paying Rs 500 a ticket at the theatre, because the only way that would be worth it is if it were a Christopher Nolan film with George Clooney and Satish Kaushik in it. But it’s not, so I’m going to sit this one out. Like most Diwalis, I’ll just stay home and play with my Jhil Mil Tara.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on

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