Musings on Diwali
Children with a plan.
Diwali was approaching and with a single minded focus on pre-diwali agenda, we were discussing which cracker would be the best for detonation. The green colored Sutlee, also known as the atom bomb, is a popular favorite. I believed that Sutlee was the only real deal, others were just there for variety’s sake.
Bursting sutlee can be a very tedious job. You need to rip some paper from the thread — remove the baarood and make the thread as less combustible as possible.
This is called- timing the bomb. The longer the thread and less baarood it has, more time will it take to blast. Agarbatti is used instead of candles so that the naked thread burns more slowly.
One can use such timing while placing crackers in school’s most remote places. Our school was not famous for scholarly reasons, and creativity often came out during fights and bursting crackers.
I was 14 and we as the IXth graders had the responsibility of celebrating Diwali before the break — the way school kids want it. It is a part of tradition.
Like past years, a strict procedure had to be followed —
1) We would chose remote spots for placing the bombs.
2) Those bombs would then be prepared for timing.
3) Then we would leave our classrooms, one by one, to our allocated destinations to detonate with Agarbattis.
We would place 5–10 of such bombs separated by 1–2 minutes of timing, ensuring an overall 5–15 minute fun.
The moment the first bomb would blow, the whole school would cheer in unison, and that meant that the party has begun, and the operation was successful. Some teachers would rejoice in their hearts, carrying anger on their faces. Principal and PT teachers would go on an investigation, and they would start checking the bags of 9th and 10th graders.
We would smuggle all the ammunition to some safe place, before the investigation spoils our party.
In our year and that was 2006, we successfully conducted 3 such serials, and that was unprecedented. The school authorities knew that the brains behind this years’ celebrations are unbeatable on many levels. #braggingRights
They gave up and then.. came an announcement —
All kids have to come to the school ground with their bags in 7th and 8th period. We are going to celebrate Diwali together, everyone is allowed to burst crackers at the playground, under the supervision of teachers.
That was a nice defensive. The luring should work and it actually worked. Section B and Section C had no interest in joining us. We were left on our own — tired, low on ammunition and frightened.
But we had to conduct another serial, to remind that we are indeed, unbreakable. By that time, Principal had deployed 11th and 12th graders to check on our movements. Our seniors had been in our shoes, they knew all the places and all the crafts. This made it incredibly difficult to execute another serial.
We decided to cut down the serial to a single bombing.
I took the responsibility of detonating the last bomb of the day. Tears in their eyes, my groupies wished my luck.
I went with the prepared bomb in my secret pocket. That pocket in the pants which is in absolute front and one can mistake the contents for your …
Incense stick and matches were still there in the washroom, behind the non-functional urinal.
While stepping inside the washroom I was stopped by two seniors. One of those asked me to pee somewhere else, other began to check my pockets. I was not a nerd, but I could always pretend to be one. Then came the third senior and said — “ gaandu hai be shakal se, dhang se sussu kar le wahi bahut hai”. [ looks like a complete idiot by face, if he could manage his pee in the pee hole, that would be enough].
That was the most advantageous insult I ever came across. I got inside the washroom, placed the bomb, detonation complete. I walked out, smiling like the idiot they took me for. 60 seconds later…
And the school was happier than ever. All my groupies rushed to the washroom to save me from any suspicion.
The leftover bombs were thrown out of the window. In the 7th and 8th period we sat down on stairs of the stadium looking at kids bursting bombs. Our class teacher came to our side and smiled.
Mischief is mischief.