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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Can Writers Bring Social Changes?

              Can writers bring change in the society? 

But, first of all, what does a "change in the society" mean to us? A social change, literally is an alteration in the way something happens in society. Any change, be it for the good or bad of the society, whether it causes happiness or sorrow, has a reason, sometimes several. 
        And at the same time, it has a cause. What we need to find out is, are writers one of the causes? Is the change good or bad? Is it, in any way, a change? Let's find out...
Formation of democratic government, replaced the age old monarchy. Was it a good change? Not for all, but for many.
One cannot please all. Similarly, one situation, change, or thing cannot be expected to be accepted by all!
But, we shall first see if writers are capable to bring about change. These, now a huge bunch of people who spend time writing content for their blog, site or book, are capable of bringing about change. Anyone, in fact is capable to do it. If Mark Zuckerberg  Sergey Brin , Larry Page, Dhirubhai Ambani, or all those who we take inspiration from can do it, why can't we?
To take a really simple example, can you notice, that there is a slight decrease in the number of crackers being burst this Diwali. Why do you think this happened. Its social media! There were many sites and advertisements promoting To have a green, or pollution free Diwali. ,any have, including me written against crackers! The margin is slight but it is happening. One day it will come to an end. 
        But this decrease, was it me? Just me writing a single article, half a dozen tweets and two to three FB posts. They were those so many number of articles, ads and people, who we call writers and bloggers who brought this change.
So, it isn't just one writer or one article or one tweet that brings about a change. It needs people to come together. No need to meet up, the internet has brought the world closer anyways.
         It requires thousands of people striving for the change. A "writer" can only take the initiative to begin the process of bringing about a change. Only "writers" can make it happen.
But the next question is, how does this happen? This happens over a period of time. A change can come along, only if, as I earlier said, collectively. 
      If a change is important and from the point of view of one person, and not in agreement with others, it may never happen. For a change to happen, it needs to be in acceptance with everybody concerned.
Can only writers on the internet bring this about? Not necessarily! It can also be a number of writers- sometimes it may be book writers, novelists and bloggers collectively.
 And, what about the people who are neither readers of books, nor on the internet? Not all people have good literary skills. But they are a part of society. So, if there is a change in society that they are against, and are unaware of it, they will continue doing something the way they have been doing it.
There are crackers being burst. There has been a change due to the articles, but not as much, that the ones who want to change would like. 
         Many continue to burst crackers, so, the articles are a waste over them. Hence, for a change to take place, not only writers but also readers are required.
Even after all this, if we have crackers not being burst by many, we have crackers being burst by even more people.        So, the writing world is limited to bring about a change in readers, who are able to read their articles. But wait a second, if the change is limited to a small sect of people in the society, is it a change in the society?
      It is a minute, slight change, but a change nevertheless! But can you consider a change in the one tenth part of the society as a change? A change in society, has to be complete, but a change is a change is a change!
So, we come back to the question of questions: Can writers bring about change in the society? And the debate is endless...

                                                                          changed by-Shahen Pardiwala

Sunday, October 19, 2014



    Diwali, a festival of lights! A festival of joy and happiness! A festival where families come together! Some leave the hustle and bustle of cities for vacations! Rangolis are made! Sweets are eaten! Crackers are burst (something I detest!) Clothes are bought!

   There are many who will take off to altogether new destinations and places but there shall be many who will celebrate Diwali at their own homes! Because there is nothing like a #GharWaliDiwali …
The essence of a festival can only be felt at home! Mother’s delicious recipes and sweets she shall cook! The wonderful Rangolis that we shall decorate our entry with! The various movies we shall see and the many more things we do together as a family! The painting and gardening we shall do with dad! The cleaning!
Talking about family, I have a family…a second family, a second home, indeed! And that is the tuition class! There are a number of children coming and I am friends with all of them! I usually play cricket or football with them, organize events but celebrating festivals is an altogether different experience! Although, just a one and a half hour event, plans were made almost a fortnight before the actual day. The seventh graders who had apparently no exams were given the responsibility to prepare for the event! They doled out suggestions that there should be a play, and some sort of competition! The idea of the play was rejected.
Finally, a Rangoli competition was zeroed in.(lantern making was too complicated!) We divided ourselves in groups, according to our batch timings. Some students insisted on decorating the divas!
Finally, at four thirty or so, everyone was there, ready in somewhere between traditional and formal clothing. We, fussy boys that we are, said we’d feel hot in the traditional kurtas; hence all boys were mostly in formal shirts or jackets. Nevertheless the girls, mostly all, wore traditional salwar-kameez.
I was in the 3:45 group. That’s because most of them were my friends, we played and had done many activities earlier...we had skipped the idea of painting diyas(no patience, you see)! We decided to make a Rangoli!
I had seen mom in a traditional outfit, or to be precise, in a saree and bangles after a really long time!
 She looked beautiful! And dad, in a formal cream shirt after a not-so-very long time, looked dashing! I managed a selfie with the queen 

but my stars were against a selfie with the king…
           My friend had made some designs for the Rangoli. I thought of making some designs too…Google images were of no help! It did have some lovely themes but we are feeble artists!
     So, I tried to use my hilariously pathetic drawing skills to make some Rangoli designs! I tried making two fish, in the form of two arcs parallel to each other-a symbol of Good Luck. I tried drawing a pot with a coconut and leaves in it! A kalash! I then drew a square with an OM in the center and four swastika symbols surrounding it. This one looked the best. The rest designs explained why architecture is not on my career wish-list! (I have a feeling that the design of the Leaning tower of Pisa, was made by me in one of my past lives! A technical flaw, maybe?)
None of my designs were chosen…however, my loving friends, said that the designs were great! I came up with an idea to make a Rangoli that used two of the designs of the four made by my mate. The inner circle had to be huge. It would have an OM symbol, probably! The outer circle would by bordered with curved somewhat like…
We had this one seventh grader who said he could draw well…he did a good job indeed! He drew the borders with a white chalk.


Shahaan, surprisingly, in a kurta!!!
We managed to borrow a diva Rangoli shape (please tell me what that thing is called!) from a second grade boy (shame on us!) and his sister…they gave it willingly. It looked divine at the center of our Rangoli! (Hey! I said we’ll draw an OM…you traitors!)

Things never turn out to be as we plan them! The space between the circle, to be originally filled pentagons or circles or triangles, maybe we decided the easier method. We took another Rangoli shape… (what is it called?)
    So we took another “it” from the boy. This time it looked something like leaves or a WIFI signal! After a ten minute long discussion we zeroed in on four WIFI signals…we selected two orange ones and two purple (those were the only colours we had, except white of course!). We happily adulterated the orange and purple with a bit of white.
The centre was covered with flowers…god knows how many kilos they had purchased. The seventh grade wrote happy Diwali with flowers…and there yet seemed to be a kilo of flowers left. We utilized them to decorate the inside, centre and outside of our Rangoli!
All of us generously shared our colours and flowers. Our Rangolis looked great. The divas too turned out to be very good...they had done a superb job!
The diva painted with precision!!!

Electric Diva!

Dad, helping out with  the divas...

             The other groups made a diva shaped Rangoli…one group made “Happy Diwali” with flowers…another made OM and divas…and a small group of girls, who apparently did not find a group to be a part of made a cute little design-this one was a typical one! Here are the photos:
The Rangoli made by the primary students!
The rangoli made by seventh graders! HAPPY DIWALI with flowers!

The tenth batch made a Diva rangoli!

We danced…most of them were shy…everyone waved goodbyes…our Happy New Year movie plan required modification thanks to some stupid compulsory classes! The tenth graders were given their homework…
The most important thing that happened was-we came together and celebrated, we made Rangolis, we came together like a family after a long session of exams! We had fun!
All were going to have a different Diwali! I had already had the feeling of Diwali! A gift-had already come at my doorstep-the Backpack I won in an IndiBlogger contest!
I would celebrate the Diwali at home…buy new clothes…and most importantly relax and read! Of course, #NoCrackers !!!
I have already celebrated #GharWaliDiwali…and planning to spend the rest with joy, happiness and my family!!!


                       celebrated by : Shahen Pardiwala

Thursday, October 16, 2014

                                 Burst the Crackers Myth!!!          

If there was a single reason, I could give myself for bursting crackers, I would definitely be engaged buying crackers for this festive season. But, I find no apparent, logical or sensible reason to burst crackers.
Why do you think people leave the city during Diwali and go away to hill stations far away from the city? Why do you think the most peak time for all hotels and home-stays is Diwali time? Do folks want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Why? There is Christmas, summer, tons of vacation in August-September!!! It’s Diwali! Because it is crackers!!! There are people who want to get away from the smoke! From the pollution! At least they are safer and can breathe fresher air at the hill-stations!!!  
First thing, why crackers? What pleasure does one get by burning those fire crackers, creating that sound? No, sound is a better phenomenon. Noise!
A firecracker (cracker, noisemaker, banger, or bunger) is a small explosive device primarily designed to produce a large amount of noise, especially in the form of a loud bang; any visual effect is incidental to this goal. They have fuses, and are wrapped in a heavy paper casing to contain the explosive compound. 
That’s what Wikipedia says. And was I right in using noise instead of sound? What I ask is, “What is the point of blasting a small explosive device primarily designed to produce a large amount of noise, especially in the form of a loud bang and a visual effect that is incidental to this goal???
Okay! Of course! Blast! Bhidoom! Bham! Tham! Dham! For a week…then put up some really awful selfies on social media…and then…I can’t really tell you because I myself have not experienced it. Thank you mom and dad for not giving an exposure I never needed…
So, here are a few reasons as to why I am not going to burst crackers this Diwali and why burning crackers is totally futile and useless, according to me…all nerds who want to go on bursting crackers after reading this, please let me know! And all those who agree can sign this petition with #NoCrackers…the “N” and “C” gotta be capitalized.
1)   They are a waste of money-Fire crackers are sold a week before the Diwali festival. The vendors are sprawled all over the city. Salesmen begin selling fire crackers-they know it is going to work in their favour. They know; there are people who will buy those explosive devices…no matter if people don’t notice their shop all year round. What bugs me the most, is chemists selling crackers! I have a chemist in my vicinity who becomes a part time cracker seller during Diwali! Wow…so this guy who sells medicines that are going to remove illness and cure his customers, begins to sell pollutants…harmful chemicals that are going to cause even worse conditions! Okay, but these were chemists and vendors who are poor…struggling for their daily needs...yet I believe it is foolish!
        Nevertheless, a doctor sponsoring for fire crackers! Speaking business, doctor? Yes, we did have a doctor who sponsored for all the fire crackers of the society! Isn’t that senseless…this doc spends his entire year treating patients, pulling them back to good health and serving a purpose to the society by curing and healing. And now, he does something that is so contrary to his own ethics! But we were talking about wastage of money.
      And yes, I firmly believe it is a waste. A waste because it is pointless! It is unnecessary. I’ve seen many of my friends buy crackers worth thousands of rupees. These thousands of rupees, if put to good use can make a difference! Come on, if not for donating to the poor and needy, at least it can buy you something you dearly wanted. If one spends say five thousand a year for crackers, doesn’t it mean a lot of things that he/she could buy? Five thousand is not a small amount. But if wasted for crackers it definitely is.
          It decreases the worth of the money. Five thousand put to use for getting some plumbing or repairing done at home is better. It will definitely increase comfort and luxury for me. It will increase the value of the money spent. It will go to a man who has spent time, working hard to repair my house. It will satiate his hunger. His house won’t be dark this Diwali!
       It will also give me a feeling of satisfaction. But then I ask myself, can I get the same satisfaction bursting crackers? If not for the man, I’ll at least be contended to see a better home.
So, yes I feel it will be a better alternative for me and my family’s (they too have taken the pledge, please don’t ask which pledge?) money to be used in a good manner this Diwali instead of being wasted over those stupid explosives! Even the notes would prefer being inside the ATM or bank. It’s too smoky outside!!!
2)   It’s worthless- Absolutely! Do I see worth in wham-dham-bam??? I close my eyes. I forget there is anything called “crackers”…I forget there exists a festival…I forget the so-called beauty created by the explosives…I imagine a loud banging noise; with that rises sparkles of different colours…good, next I receive a noble prize for filling the entire world with beauty, peace, happiness and colours!!!
        Really??? Does it really mean anything...Anything more than a moment of so-called thrill and happiness? What purpose does it serve? Nothing! Is it sensible spending money on something futile?
       Would you buy soaps and shampoos if they did not help you clean yourself? Would you spend bucks and then rub it on your body for nothing? Would you buy a television that does not telecast shows and movies?
          I bet you would’ve never imagined a thing like that…you wouldn’t have even thought of a TV. without programmes’ existence? And how would it come into existence? Doesn’t each thing “being there”, existing, have a purpose to serve? A reason to come into existence???
            Those crackers did have a reason…a reason that served a purpose that many years back. It was a mode to celebrate festivals…doesn’t it have to be removed out of the cycle once its purpose is served? Doesn’t it have to stop…if it is clearly visible that its purpose is served? It’s causing harm to people? Let alone its harmful effects, it is useless! So that was the second reason…quite an important one! Because I do not use things that don’t serve me a purpose!!!
3) It causes harm- Now; I do not want to take any chances-before I go into it:
My friend hurt his forehead-a butterfly flew past it! No, not the ones in the garden-they are hardly visible during this time…if it can choke a fifty kilo person like you, think what the smoke can do to the butterfly!
So, the butterfly is this type of cracker that flies in any possible direction…no one knows where! It can get into a house through a window…it can land in the garden of the opposite building…it can punch you in your face! So this little guy was slashed on the forehead by this butterfly (who was looking for his son somewhere in the garbage can!). You won’t believe this but as you read this, that same kid is bursting a cracker-a butterfly, probably!
Every day, there shall be an article in the newspaper - someone or the else would’ve burnt his/her hand, leg, palm, face or hair while bursting a cracker! There will be many who won’t burst crackers…but even more who will continue to! They’ll say, “That boy who burnt his palm-he shouldn’t have gone too close”, “That girl, she should have been careful with fire”!!!
So, as far as I am concerned, I love myself and my family. I feel it is stupid to risk personal health for a moment of joy! There are stats that can prove it…prove that crackers, apart from causing injuries also cause lung problems….nevertheless it is release of harmful particles and gases. It is smoke.
       My younger brother, had asthma two years back. Thanks to the prayers and healing, he is fine now. He would cough, be choked, would spend sleepless nights. My mom and dad would be awake all night. I now realise how he would’ve felt…how worried we…all this owing to pollution!
        This pollution is caused by, of course, automobiles and industries; but in our city-crackers are a must…marriage, we need it! Celebrations? We need it! Diwali? Is that a question? Of course we do! But it is not just about him! It is about hundreds of those suffering due to these crackers!
          These crackers that give out gases! Harmful gases! One of my friends commented under the post (by my dad, where I got this inspiration from): We should, might as well eat Cadbury crackle! And honestly, its better-no harm and we all can eat it, can’t we?
So, while we seek for blessings from god, for prosperity, for health, for happy lives at the same time we burst crackers that spoil health of others, if not of ours! It becomes a cause of worry, pain and ill health! Then why? Why should I burn these crackers when they are causing my own brother to cough and spend sleepless nights?
Would you want to do anything that causes, if not others, your own loved ones discomfort? No! Of course not! You wouldn’t! Then why do it! I won’t and that’s my pledge! I won’t cause any discomfort, sorrow or pain! I won’t be the reason for anyone to fall sick! I won’t be the reason for someone’s injury…nor even want to become a witness to it! I won’t be the cause for someone to spend a festival coughing or being breathless...I pledge!
I pledge to not add smoke and pollution to a city already polluted beyond regular levels! I pledge to not cause anyone any sort of disease, condition or sorrow! I pledge to not burst crackers!
At the same time, we won’t let the spirit of the festival of lights die down! Our house shall be well-lit! There will be Rangolis at our doorstep! We shall seek the blessing of the Almighty! But we shall not waste our precious money on futile explosives that cause pain!!!
This Diwali there shall be Diyas, Rangolis, lights, lanterns but no crackers!
I know there are still going to be many thousands of people bursting crackers-spending crores of rupees! But all I can do is this! I’ll do all I can…
I pledge to not burst a single cracker this Diwali; from this Diwali… #NoCrackers!!!
 Wishing Everyone A Happy Diwali…Full Of Lights And Prosperity!!!
                              Burst By- Shahen Pardiwala

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