Electrical lighting has become a symbol of the Goddess Laxmi
When we hit Mumbai the first thing that struck me were the lights. Mumbai’s wealth was evident even from the sky. I could not get a decent picture from up there but I did once we hit the ground. Here are a few of the pictures I took. And these are just the middle class localities.
The next one hasn’t come out clearly as we were going too fast but I couldn’t resist posting it.
Diwali is the festival of lights and it’s a time when the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, comes to our homes. It is believed that on that day of Diwali the doors are to be kept open and the house lighted up…but the irony is that only those who already possess the wealth can light up their homes. And with the power cuts in rural areas only those who can afford gensets can do so.
That was why I was touched by this Mumbai Mirror story which told of “30 families in a building in Parel who switched off all lights, fans and all other electrical appliances in their houses and lit only diyas (earthen lamps) in the peak hours between 7 pm and 10 pm from Thursday to Sunday, so that people who faced power cuts for 15 hours in some regions of the state could get to celebrate Diwali.” And they did it despite being warned that if they switched off their lights the Goddess Laxmi might just give them the slip! It’s amazing that people can talk such nonsense considering that Diwali has been celebrated for hundreds of years, before electricity was ever invented. It is creditable the residents of the building persisted with their resolve to save power.
While major cities like Nashik, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Aurangabad are facing power cuts of up to two hours a day, smaller towns like Kalyan-Dombivali, Sangli, Satara, Amravati and such others are having to suffer power cuts of up to four hours in a day and the rural areas, for up to six to eight hours a day.
Well, I am not sure that I can do without electrical appliances myself but I cannot help but admire those who can. I am addicted not to ac’s and fans but to the computer. And to some extent the refrigerator as I am in the habit of shopping several days in advance. I can do without hot water, television and even my mobile but if you take away the computer I will suffer serious withdrawal symptoms.
(All pictures have been taken by me except for the last one which is from Mumbai Mirror and linked to the original)
Update: Arleen sent me a link to a picture of the earth as it looks from the sky at night. I am adding a part of it here which shows India. You can see the brighter dot that is Mumbai. If you want to see the whole world click on the picture and you be taken to the complete photograph from NASA.