‘This Diwali Was Less Painful For My Pet’

Tanvi, a Class VII student, shares the trauma her small pet went through last Diwali and the relatively peaceful night this year

The Diwali fireworks gave us a harrowing time last year. We had recently adopted a little pet and the loud, recurrent bangs of firecrackers sent him into a nervous tizzy. I kept on trying to cajole the barely one-year old pup but each loud burst made him jump with fear.

The hearing ability of dogs is many times higher than those of humans; they can perceive noises that are not audible to a human ear. That is why a cracker burst sounds several times louder to a dog, and hence their fear. It is sheer torture.

Thankfully, this year the sale and use of firecrackers was banned in Delhi. While there were still many people bursting the firecrackers, cocking a snook at the supposed ban, I am lucky to live in a gated colony where most residents followed the government directives.

For the past five-six years, our school teachers have been telling us about the environmental harm caused by firecrackers during Diwali, and I have been a strict follower of the campaign. In fact, my only remembrance of using a firecracker on Diwali is a ten-year old photograph where I am nervously holding a phooljhadi (fire-crackling stick). I love making rangolis patterns outside our house entrance, lighting candles and wearing new ethnic clothes every Diwali. Loud crackers are beyond me, especially the serial crackers.

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But I realised the true ill-effects of firecrackers when my mother brought home a pet – a small Shih Tzu pup who was so friendly and sweet that we decided to name him Sugar. In no time, the pet became an inseparable part of our life; Sugar is a living stuff toy first and a loving brother rolled into one. We shared not just the living space but also our difficult moments. People who have never kept a pet cannot understand the bond between a pet and its ‘parents’.

The playfulness of Sugar, our pet, not just entertained us but also taught me about basic needs and desires in life beyond human longings. Then came Dussehra 2019. Our housing society set up an effigy of Ravan to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Green crackers will be used, we were told, as per the state guidelines. The successive burst from the effigies and Sugar’s trauma warned us what would be in store for us on Diwali night.

We even thought of taking a small trip outside Delhi to avoid the noise but we could not. On Diwali night, our worst fears came true. Sugar ordeal was telling. As I mentioned earlier, we tried to keep him close, with reassuring hugs, but it was difficult time for him.

This year, the crackers noise did occur but since they were from faraway places, and not inside our group housing complex, the effect was so much less. Sugar remained playful and the family relieved. Yet, I cannot but spare a thought for the stray dogs, there is one adopted by our society too, who live on streets, exposed to Diwali bangs and kept running in fear the whole night. A festival must be an event of rejoice for all, not just a few. I sincerely hope, sanity and compassion will get the better of pollution and commotion every Diwali hereto.

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