Bangaloreans begin Diwali with gaiety, caution


Bangalore : Festive mood gripped Bangaloreans as the three-day Diwali celebrations began here Saturday with lights, colours and a bit of caution.

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Hundreds of homes across the city were decorated with strings of small bulbs of various colours while over the next three nights, traditional diyas will add a touch of tradition to the festival of lights.

“I am going to enjoy Diwali fully. I know the state has been stuck by tragedy as floods have ravaged north Karnataka, but I want to forget all the sad incidents of past and want to welcome a new beginning for all by celebrating Diwali,” Santosh Nair, a techie, told IANS.

Echoing Santosh, BPO employee Soma Saha said Diwali is a festival of lights when one prayed for happiness of all.

“Let us pray for a better future for all,” said Soma during her last minute shopping for Diwali at Brigade Road, Bangalore’s popular shopping hub.

As people, particularly youth look forward to bursting crackers in the evenings, experts have advised the revellers to stay away from firecrackers as much as possible.

The advice is not only because of possible burn injuries but also due to the high levels of pollution the city is suffering from.

According to Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, Diwali celebrations in Bangalore during 2008 led to a high level of Respiratory Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM).

Bangalore generally has RSPM level of 73 mg/m3. However, Diwali 2008 saw it rise to 159 mg/m3.

“People should celebrate Diwali with gusto, but should stay away from firecrackers as they contain toxic gases with high level of nitrate, carbon and sulphur dioxide, harmful to eyes and lungs,” said Manisha Mohan, a city-based physician.

“Staying away from firecrackers can also help in decreasing large number of burn related cases during Diwali,” added Manisha.

In order to deal with any emergency health related cases, several helplines have been opened by various hospitals in the city.

As eye-related cases see a rise in the city during Diwali, Narayana Nethralaya, a leading eye hospital, will remain open 24 hours for the next three days.

Bengalis in the city are adding to the cultural scene by bringing in wandering minstrels – the Baul-Fakir singers – to enthrall Bangaloreans Saturday evening.

A musical tribute to legendary singer Kishore Kumar is also being organised at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall in the city centre Sunday. Chowdaiah was a legendary violin maestro.

“Bangaloreans are always artistically inclined and musical and cultural events add to the mood of festivities. I am going to enjoy a few of the cultural nights during the weekend,” said Vishal Kumar, a copywriter.