Diwali = Fascination with Fire

12 November, 2004 at 16:42 Leave a comment

Diwali. Well, I was talking to my Mom yesterday and she asked me to wish you all a happy Diwali. So, there you go. I do not want to be held responsible if your bank balance becomes any lesser because of a morbid fetish to burn chemicals (and our fascination with fire in general) which as I found out the other day during the dirty weekend at Gowanbank farm is actually a very universal thing cutting across cultures, race, color… (and all that global-village crap). Essentially, I meant to say that is a human wiring thing. Make sure you wear fire-proof clothes 😉
On Nov-5th in the UK, there is what is called a “Bonfire and Fireworks Night” (what an appropriate name) where people do what it says on the can. Duh? have a bonfire and have fireworks. The reason is to commemorate the failure of a plan by some lunatic to blow up the English Parliament. We are actually celebrating his foolishness, his failure and his subsequent death. So, even the reasons in between the east and west cultures (which is as far as one can get with Diwali is the death of Ravana and/or Narakasura which by the way I do not find it clashworhty among the Ramaites or the Krishnaites – two evil people can die on the same day just like I share my birthday with a million others) are kinda the same. Anyway, I was watching the kids who were probably watching the fireworks for the first time and their fascination has to be seen (so that it will spare my Thinkpad’s keyboard some lesser bumps on the head from my hands). I think we are wired to celebrate and be happy in the presence of fire (unless of course it does damage to our buildings which again is not a bad thing and the refurbished Bower Building – the Botany department – is a demolished-constructed-standing testimony to that). It is looking quite impressive now I should say.

Now where were we? Yes, Diwali and Fire. The thing that started it all. My theory is that biologically, we have been wired over the million or so years since we have used fire to respect it and treat it as something that is good and wards off evil. Hindus think it is a purifying element and give it legendary siginificance. Pushing the envelope further, even before someone accidentally dropped a piece of meat into a fire and found it tastier and easier on his/her unbrushed plaqued teeth (viz. cooking and using direct fire has become a statestue family bonding or socializing affair – barbeques that is), fire was used for warmth and most importantly to keep away wild beasts which I have to say found humans much to their taste and vulnerable given our total misfit as nomadic wanderers in a wild jungle. Fire was mandatory for our survival and just like sex (which is again important for our survival in a philanthropic sense because we are thinking of our civilization as a whole by contributing more humans [read, children] to society so that they can work and pay taxes and provide us with pensions and willing ears which started this Diwali blurb/torture to begin with), it gives us pleasure and happiness.
Am too busy to say more partly because I do not know about sex and when I am ignorant of something, I stay put and quiet much to the rejoice of others. And yet another part is that the theory of Diwali has been explained (to myself maybe). “Happy Diwali” folks!

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