Update: La Tomatina Cancelled! Sanity prevails!
Note: The tone of the article is not pleasant. Reflects my frustration. And I took no pain to hide it.
Just spare a thought for that young kid on the road. He hasn’t had anything to eat for the past two days. And now, he stares at people throwing food at each other, food being indiscriminately wasted, food being used for entertainment and ‘celebration’, in the name of La Tomatina.
Celebration of what? A most outrageous, inhuman celebration that smacks of arrogance and ignorance. A pure sadistic pleasure of destroying food that could well have formed somebody’s meal. A reflection of a damnable moral degradation of a society which prides itself on a morally high ‘Civil Society’. It turns out, we are, after all, a society which prides itself on apathy. Absolute apathy.
Please do not compare it with a holi or diwali or any other traditional festival. Yes, money is spent in every festival, for every celebration. What you do with your money is your sole prerogative. I agree. But to be oblivious, to be conveniently blind, to what our actions could lead to, to be completely irresponsible towards our society does warrant a deep introspection as to what the media (read films) has turned us into.
Let me clarify: I am not against celebration. I am all for celebration. But celebration at what cost? Celebration does not beget sadism. Yes, I also agree that the same kid might stare sadly when other kids of his age celebrate a diwali or a holi. But this pales in comparison to snatching food away from his mouth just because you are better off.
Snatching food way? Yes. Thousands of tonnes of tomatoes will be diverted from the vegetable vendors to the ‘celebration’ vendors. I am assuming every reader to be aware of the consequences. The prices of tomatoes will go up (it is one form of local inflation, for the economically savvy), further taking away the buying power from the poor.
Make no mistake. We live in a country where 836 million people live on less than Rs.20/- a day. THIS IS NO SPAIN, but India. People die of hunger. We live in a country of extreme malnourishment. We are worse off than even sub-saharan countries in terms of child malnourishment. Thousands of farmers commit suicides. Yet, all we care about is posting facebook statuses supporting a cause. We don’t act. And when we act, it is an act of rotten tomatoes.
Be responsible. Please be aware that we live in a more and more connected world. Every action of us will affect something around us. Stop being ignorant. Ignorance is no excuse, especially when you choose to remain ignorant. There is a wealth of information present around you. Try and analyse the consequences of your own actions. Stop pretending to yourself that your actions will impact only you.
And at the end of the ‘festival’, we will all turn a blind eye towards that young kid who, unable to control his hunger, eats the smashed tomatoes.
P.S. There has been a call for La Tomatina in Bangalore on September 18th, 2011. There have been calls elsewhere as well. I urge people to boycott these events.