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Saying no to noisy crackers

This Deepavali, people in Coimbatore are saying no to `multi-shot giant crackers' and `atom bombs' and yes to `peacock golden drops' and `bonfire night 36', finds out K. JESHI


People prefer crackers that produce more light than sound like jasmine drops, which gives a raindrop-effect, and moonwalker aerial crackers T. M. Khan, Food World



FESTIVE SPARK In multi-colours PHOTO: K. ANANTHAN

With kids saying no to noisy firecrackers and the market echoing a general sentiment against a noisy Deepavali, the sale of deafening crackers is the on the decline. Call it fear-factor or awareness, citizens of Coimbatore are keeping away from noisy firecrackers; they prefer a display of mind-boggling lights rather than ear-shattering sounds.

Says B. Anand Kumar of Cracker World on 100 ft Road, near Seshadri Mahal: "There is more demand for fancy crackers, especially aerial ones which emit colourful lights, among families and kids. While middle class families purchase crackers worth Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 5,000, there are customers willing to spend beyond Rs. 15,000. In both categories, fancy items form a major chunk of purchases."

As customers have been asking for fancy items, they have stocked enough cartons of Enjoy 1000 (Rs. 6,400) (emits multi-colour lights in the sky 1,000 times), Joy 240 (Rs. 1,500), Bonfire 36 (sparks a bonfire in the sky), Clatter 64, Fantastic 36, Graphic 180 (creates a graphic pattern), Jolly finger 240 ... the list is endless.

Though Deepavali is just a few days away, initial trends about preferences indicate that noise crackers are on their way out this year. "We have stocked low-decibel `atom bombs' that stick to noise pollution norms. But, college students still prefer 1,000 and 2,000-wallahs," he adds. Meanwhile, when it comes to children, once the biggest consumers of noisy crackers, it appears that they are pretty sure about what they want. "No, we won't burst crackers this Deepavali," they chant in unison.

Says T. M. Khan, Store Manager-Operations, Food World, Trichy Road: "Sale of `bombs' and other loud crackers is down this year. People prefer crackers that produce more light than sound like jasmine drops, which gives a raindrop-effect, and moonwalker aerial crackers. Also, flower pots which produce a variety of colours are in demand this year."

On their part, cracker shops have begun spreading awareness on safety norms to be followed while bursting crackers, the precautions to be taken and first-aid to be administered. At Cracker World, a display chart with pictorial representation of safety information is being put up. "We have also installed a television set on our shop premises for a video presentation to educate customers on safe handling of crackers," adds Anand.

For a safe Deepavali


At Food world, a demo on safety precautions while bursting crackers was set up well in advance to spread the message among the public. "Most wanted to know why we kept huge containers of water in the store; we then told them the need to have a similar container while bursting crackers, to avoid any accident," adds Khan.

Accepting that there is awareness, Dr. Ramamurthy of The Eye Foundation, R. S. Puram, gives some practical tips in case of any injury: "If it is a perforating injury like a rocket hitting the eye, people should not waste time assessing the damage. Trying to squeeze the eyes or open it can aggravate the wound. Instead, rush the patient to an ophthalmologist. If chemicals fall into the eyes, wash profusely in cold water and consult a doctor."

Dr. Ramamurthy says that it is the teenagers and kids who are careless. "People should not burst crackers on roads; this can cause damage to any passer-by. Instead, choose the terrace or an open ground to light crackers."

Superficial burns are also common during Deepavali. Koshy, dermatologist at KG Hospital, says "chances of direct skin allergy is unlikely. But, in case of burns, wash the affected area with soap and water."

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