A time of shopping, bustle, family, sweets, bright lights, general over-indulgence, and of course, noise.

Years of bursting, and now listening to, fire-crackers going off a week before the big day have instilled an almost Pavlovian response, in which the body prepares to deal with the concussive waves of the non-stop blasts while trying to breathe without choking on all the sulphur-laden fumes.  All while cursing those who refuse to think about the effect it’s having on old people and animals and the air, who ignore all the advertising that urges them to have a quiet festival, and who ignore the unsustainable and shady origins of many of the products they buy.

But this year, there were crackers only after 5pm, and only on Diwali.

The optimist in me believes active campaigning has triumphed, and more people are becoming sensitised to the various problems, and that this is a genuine trend, and that in the not-so-distant future, Diwali may once again become the festival of light.

The pessimist in me simply points to the sinking GDP of the country and the lack of general spending across all sectors, and tells me to come around for a chat in a year when business is a-booming.