There’s laughter and festivity in the air; people are greeting each other, taking selfies in groups, or dancing on the streets. A truck with the idol of the huge Ganpati follows. It’s the day of visarjan and there is traffic all around. A tempo with a huge megaphone blares while the drums beat loudly along with it.
The noise is a bit too much for me, so I back up a bit. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a dog crouching near my building. ‘Buddy!’ I think, and cross the road and go up to him. He’s a very skinny and malnourished dog, his bones visible from under his skin. He seems very apprehensive. I reach out to him and pet him. He doesn’t wag his tail like usual and barely glances at me. Instead he’s crouching low, shivering.
Dogs can hear way 3 times more better than humans and it’s pretty evident that all the noise is bothering him. I squatted down next to him. I stay there with him for about half an hour, whispering to him over and over, that I’m sorry, and you’ll be okay, and you’re a good dog. Buddy moans and lies down. “I know, I’m sorry,” I say to him apologetically. The sad look in his eyes makes me feel so bad! I don’t have money or else I’d at least get him biscuits like I do whenever I see him.
I sit there stroking him and thinking: ‘I don’t think Ganpati likes it that so many stray animals are suffering because of the noise we make. He certainly wouldn’t want us to make so much noise and pollute the rivers because of him.’ Then I think: ‘ugh, and Diwali; I absolutely hate all the bursting crackers in Diwali. I just sit at home, trying to channel all the phat phat phat of the crackers away from me, it just gets on my nerves. And all the pollution! Does nobody think about all the animals, the planet belongs to them just as much as it belongs to us, and we’re ruining it for them and for us! Plus, the smog and all the diseases. please people, can we have a Diwali without crackers?’ then I get mad thinking about how a kid once threw a water balloon on this dog and it hit his eye and how the dog howled. Then the pictures of the dead birds, tangled in the manjas from the kites we fly in Makar Sankranti crosses my mind. I look over at the Ganpati in the truck which treads along slowly. Ganpati’s smiling expression suddenly look sad. I no longer feel joyous anymore. I whisper some more to buddy, promising to meet him tomorrow with biscuits, then I come back home and write this.
Can’t we not get eco friendly and celebrate our festivals by making sure we take care of our environment and the animals? Festivals should be about meeting each other, having fun and spreading joy, not pollution and harm.
Please, please say no to things that can harm our environment and the animals living around us. Instead celebrate happy, pollution less and safe festivals.