Diwali, a New Way

There were ninety-one children in Venus Housing Society and for the most part their lives ran parallel to that of the adults. 

Except in the meeting held to discuss the Diwali celebrations. All ninety-one children attended this meeting, and according to Mr. Raman, the president of the association, all of them had something to say, usually about crackers.  

‘They always trick us into doing things their way,’ Mr. Raman growled on the morning of the meeting. ‘But not this year!’

The children arrived just as Mr. Raman said, ‘The budget for the crackers…’

‘No!’ ninety-one voices said together. 

‘We are going to discuss the money for crackers…’ he said irritably. 

‘No!’ the voices sang out. 

‘Diwali!’ Mr. Raman said. ‘Crackers!’

‘No crackers!’ the children said. 

‘Then how do you want to celebrate Diwali?’ Mr. Raman asked. 

The children were prepared with their answers. 

‘With flowers!’




‘Dogs?’ Mr. Raman looked suspiciously at the children. 

‘Dogs are terrified of crackers,’ the children said. ‘This year, we’ll take care of stray dogs so they have a good Diwali too!’

There was a stunned silence. Then the General Body meeting of Venus Housing Society erupted into confusion with the  grownups trying to convince the children that Diwali needed crackers, not dogs and ninety-one children of the society saying ‘No’ to crackers.  

 ‘But the other societies will laugh at us for not having crackers for Diwali,’ a grownup said piteously. 

Venus Housing Society had a reputation for the most lavish display of crackers. Wouldn’t the other societies snigger at their cracker-less Diwali?

‘Which is better,’ the children asked, ‘taking care of the poor dogs or burning thousands of rupees in crackers?’ 

When they put it like that most grownups immediately saw the logic of their argument. To those who were still uncertain about this new kind of celebration, the children said, ‘Tell people you choose not to pollute the environment!’

Mr. Raman liked that. It was a sensible, responsible logic. He would enjoy saying this to the Presidents of the societies that had sneered at old-fashioned Venus Housing Society. 

The children, he said, had a point. He said it so many times that soon everyone was nodding and saying, ‘Yes,’ to a cracker-less Diwali. By the time the meeting finished, Mr. Raman felt almost affectionate towards the ninety-one children of the society. 

Diwali was peaceful and happy. People agreed that the lamps and flowers were prettier than crackers.  Mr. Raman was enjoying the success of this new way of celebrating Diwali till Mrs. Raman said, ‘They got their way again, didn’t they?’  and the first suspicions began to stir in his mind. Had he and all the grownups been tricked? 

‘Yes!’ he said explosively. ‘They tricked us again and got their way!’  

He looked out at the flickering lamps and pretty flowers decorating the society. ‘I’ll be prepared next year,’ he vowed. ‘Perhaps they’ll suggest planting trees instead of crackers,’ he mused. ‘But whatever it is, I’ll help them trick us!’


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