Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wake up -- before it's too late.

In my 15 years of living in this city, never have I questioned my choice of being here. Not when they raised questions on the safety of women in the city, not when they touted it as a 'show off' culture, not when they declared the city rude and crude. And that has not been without a reason -- for all its flaws, the city gives me and my family what no other city in this country can, and that is reason enough for me to be faithful to it.

But in the last two days, since my return from Lucknow after Diwali, for the first time I have started to question my future in Delhi. For the first time being a resident of Delhi is giving me sleepless nights. For what I see outside the window is outright scary -- not only for me but also, and more importantly, for my children. 

What I find heartbreaking is that not only poor and illiterate -- those who perhaps have only festivals to assert their existence -- are lighting fireworks and crackers indiscriminately, but also the so-called educated of the society are indulging in it uninhibitedly. In my apartment complex alone, the crackers began at least three days before Diwali and went on until late last evening. This when they can see the result right in front of their eyes: the smoke, the smog, the haze -- not only outside but inside the houses too. And then there are factions that are debating the fact that firecrackers alone are not, and cannot be responsible for the pollution. Pollution is everywhere so how do my handful of crackers make a difference?

My dear educated people of the world, please understand that your ten anars or fifteen rockets may not seem like too much, but if everyone lights as many firecrackers, it will translate into billions -- and much, much more poison for your children. And yes, the lights that your plug in three days before the festival and continue to keep on until a week later also has a carbon footprint, as does the plastic packaging of your 'gift packs' and the smoke from your car that you run for hundreds of kilometers within the city to distribute these 'gift-packs' and buy these lights.

Please stop and think about your children. What kind of world are you leaving behind for them? What kind of life do you want them to live? What kind of values are you passing on to them? Because, my dear educated people of the society, money may buy you air purifiers and face masks, but no amount of money can help you buy clean air for your children.

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