Monday, November 19, 2012

Diwali in Kamla Nagar

A riot of colour everywhere, LED lights strung from pole to pole form a bright, colourful awning for all the important streets of Kamla Nagar with other welcoming paper, plastic decorations hanging individually by shops. Seasonal Diwali hawkers cover the roads with their wares, the rang walas, diya walas, candle sellers, firecracker sellers, diwali paper decorations' hawkers, flower sellers, mehndi walas and many more.... No need to shout, to call out to people, with plenty wanting to buy and plenty on sale. Surprisingly, one sees less of vehicular traffic and a lot of pedestrian traffic on the roads. Those few days in an year when you finally get to have the roads almost all to yourself and other fellow travelers on legs. Full parking spots form a natural divide between the pavements and the road. You will find pavements empty except where people are bustling in or around shops. You fall in love with the ambience created to woo shoppers, setting the note for beginning festivities.

Once you go beyond the colour, the light, the jazz, you wonder how a lot of things on show happened. How and when the holes were dug up in roads to accommodate poles used to strung the lights? Where did the electricity for all of this come from? Is it an out an out stealing electricity from the electric poles, individual connections being used or is this paid for separately by the market's traders union? Do they even pay despite the huge sales and profit margins that are made? How come the streets are cleaner than most days, who is responsible, is it the MCD working hard, the traders union keeping special checks through the day or an individual effort at attracting customers?

If you go even beyond, you look at how the roads are used, are much more used.... used as part of the seasonal economy, used to make markets beautiful in light of festivities by digging up holes and adding lights, for walking and parking only (almost) instead of vehicular commute. You notice that pavements are hardly used because the parking lots right next to them are full and street hawkers place their wares beyond the vehicles on the road. Hardly used because there are roads to walk and shop on and the pavements afford little space for movement cutting off the shopper on foot from the desired wares. You notice the lights making for a beautiful sky but coming out of electric poles and using up all that electricyt through the day that yuo would crave for on a normal sunny day when you go without power. Not that I am not in favour of lights, but, not in favour of not paying and using what I can get my hands on.

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