Dear humans, let's try not to kill each other this Diwali

Diksha Dwivedi

Dear Human,

Right now, I’m breathing in Delhi’s cancerous air and saying to myself – do I really want to die like this?

I have so much to say this year on Diwali like every year for the last three years. Not because I recently rescued a puppy and almost lost him because of firecrackers. Not because I have a family sitting in Delhi, which happens to be one of the most polluted cities in the world. Not because I’m an ‘atheist’ and I hate ‘Hindu festivals’ as some genius minds assume on the Internet these days.

I have so much to say because I have a problem with you killing the human race in all your innocence before our time. Before apocalypse hits us, you’ll kill us knowingly. Knowing how hard it’s getting to breathe oxygen these days, the oxygen that once used to be free.

Today, we’re paying for oxygen in the name of air purifiers and pollution masks. If this doesn’t bother you, what will? The air pollution in countries like ours has given birth to a whole new industry.

The real reason why I have so much to say today is because I find it hard to believe that we’re so ignorant about our lives and we’re called the smartest living beings on this planet. It makes me wonder what the other species are capable of doing to this planet if we’re so hell-bent on killing ourselves when most of us can read, hear, look and feel.

‘Ignorance is bliss’ was a statement as an exception and not as a rule. The fact really remains that we’re living at a time in this country when pollution is a ‘state of emergency’. As I write this, we’ve hit a category in pollution levels called ‘severe-plus emergency’ — where PM 2.5 levels in the air are above 300 and PM10 levels, above 430. In a few countries, these levels will call for a shutdown, but, hey, we’re immune. So we assume. And so we’ve taken this life for granted. That’s a bubble we all like to live in and that’s a bubble that’s likely to kill us sooner rather than later if we don’t take charge immediately.

Another bubble we live in?

‘It’s the crops burning in Punjab that’s causing the air pollution, not my smoking or bursting of crackers.’ — Here we forget the phrase that we should’ve really remembered in life, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. Everything filthy you release in the air is adding to the pollution levels every day.

It’s true, you may not be able to help the ‘burning crops’ situation but guess how you can help? I’ll let you answer that for yourself this Diwali.

Today, I just pray to God that no animal dies or gets injured because of firecrackers in the name of ‘celebrations’, no human falls prey to an airborne disease, and tomorrow, the post-Diwali India does not look like a graveyard.

This Diwali, let us all breathe.


A terrified citizen