There was a time when Diwali was synonymous with loud atom bombs and 1,000-garland crackers.
But times have changed, thanks to the awareness created by the government, NGOs and activists, many Mumbaikars are opting for firecrackers that are colourful, but not loud.
“The sale of loud crackers has fallen by 60% this year,” said Minesh Mehta, joint secretary of the Mumbai and Thane District Fireworks Dealers’ Welfare Assocation. Pointing to a stack of atom bomb packets in the corner of his firecracker store on Mohammed Ali Road, he added: “Earlier, we used to re-stock the pile four to five times a day. Now, we do it only once a day. People have become more aware of noise pollution and other hazards caused by crackers.”
He also attributed the general dislike for loud crackers to the soaring popularity of colourful aerial fireworks and flowerpots.
Wadala resident Sandeep Kumar said: “We stopped buying loud crackers last year. It disturbs the neighbourhood and leave me with a bad headache that lasts a week. This year, I have bought varieties of aerial fireworks and flowerpots for only Rs1,500.”
Aerial fireworks, such as Dil Maange More, Joy 25, Carnival and Mangolia, that burst into an array of colours and light up the sky are a big hit among children.
“We get children and families who demand only crackers that are not loud, and this has led to a rise in the production of innovative, colourful noiseless crackers,” said Abdulla Ghia, store in-charge of Essabhai Fireworks on Mohammad Ali Road.
Malad resident Srikanth Reddy feels that in this noisy city, we can do without the loud crackers.
“I may burst crackers in my sparsely populated village in Andhra Pradesh, but never in Mumbai. I prefer chakras and flowerpots.”