Sunday, November 1, 2015

Noiseless and smokeless crackers

Mumbai prefers noiseless and smokeless crackers

With Diwali round the corner, fire crackers in the city have started arriving in new avatars. Wave a Harry Potter wand, watch a peacock spread lights through its plumes or light up a Christmas tree and watch it's white and silver flakes err, flames, via firecrackers.The phatakas are as zany as it gets this time and here's what's in store...


Apart from the usual phooljhari, anaar and chakri as well as ladi bombs, this year there is a demand for items based more on light than sound. “Well, I wouldn't say these are completely noiseless, but noise-less,“ laughs Abdulla Ghia of a fireworks store at Mohammed Ali Road.“Earlier, the big draw were atom bombs, but now people want more aerial items like the rocket, flashlights and fountains.“ There is a `crackling peacock' that actually seems to spread its wings when lit up, a musical ground chakri and one shaped like a swastika! Made of recycled paper, most of the eco-friendly firecrackers have a lesser chemical content and thus emit lesser pollution and noise. Take the long `magic whip' -coloured strings that just throw small sparks and don't emit smoke. “Most people no longer like that loud dhamaka, and ground atom bombs are no longer appreciated,“ adds Murtaza Sabuwala of a fireworks shop ahead on the same road. “ A new cracker, which is meant to look like railway signal, emits a red then green light just like a real signal. Also popular are `diamonds', which just emit light and are safe for kids,“ he informs.



The crackers come packaged in everything from the Hulk to Pokemon and designer motorcycles and cars. A Doraemon firework goes hissing into the sky only to fall back within minutes and there are assorted flat cracker cartoons that simply whoosh about two or three feet, minus any smoke.“Another big attraction this time is the Angry Birds cracker, which is just a 5colour assorted fountain with a small crackling sound,“ says seller Himanshu Mehta. He adds that the Christmas tree, which throws out silver lights like flakes and Harry Potter pencils that light up like real wands, have been selling like hotcakes.


Meanwhile, the Supreme Court's recent refusal to order a blanket ban on firecrackers during Diwali, has been welcomed by Mumbai vendors. Says Minhesh Mehta, hon. gen secretary of the Fireworks Dealers Welfare Association, “It's a good thing that this has happened. After all, the pollution in the city is not only due to crackers, there is so much noise and air pollution due to traffic and that too, 12 months of the year! I feel we can't ban crackers as it is a fundamental right of a citizen to enjoy him or herself, but that said, people also should burn crackers with some self-discipline and not beyond certain hours or in silence zones.“

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