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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

celebrating Deepavali with Crackers..... shops at Island grounds..

Deepavali, the festival of Lights enthuses everyone and is celebrated all over the Country with great enthusiasm.  People wear new clothes, eat and share  lot of sweets and celebrate with crackers.  The very thought of Deepavali celebrations pervades happiness and would enthuse us ~ the fervour felt right from our childhood.   It is a grand festival that would provide everything in abundance – sweets, visiting and sharing with friends and relatives, watching movies and more….

Fire crackers – the small explosives designed to produce noise and the eye-capturing fireworks – both on the ground and on the air have captivated people for centuries now.   Every year you get to hear newer names –  new introductions say AK47, Break dance, Golden Bonanza, Mumbai Indians, Oh Calcutta are some of the names quoted in the circles as latest wonders, last year ………  this year – saw some fancy names like ‘super sonica; Chandni ka chand; soneri rath;soneri barsath; floral fantasy…

In Chennai, the Island ground is bustling with activity now…. ‘Island’ in Chennai ?  ~ there are no flowing rivers in the city – the Coovum winds its way to the Bay of Bengal and nearer Napier bridge – between Beach road and Mount road lies this island – a vast empty space where fairs and exhibitions are held.

For ages the crowded Parrys would get more congested as Bunder Street, Badrian Street, Anderson Street all will look similar – only shops selling crackers.  All roads would lead to shops selling fire crackers of various manufacturers including – Standard, National, Sri Kaliswari, Ayyan ….. – you can see hundreds of shops -  still all do roaring business. 

Somehow one gets a feeling that there have been attempts to somehow dampen the spirits of Deepavali – as every year, we hear of more and more restrictions from various Governmental authorities.  Earlier, some hue and cry was raised about child labour in the fire works manufacturing – it the concern was real, why the same was not raised in candle manufacturing and other things – where also child labour is involved.  Then, talk  about the pollution control.  Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has issued guidelines to ensure that high-decibel firecrackers do not cause trouble to the public.  Then there is the Supreme Court guidelines,  which bans  bursting crackers between 10pm and 6am. 

Can any of these authorities think of a similar ban on say – sale of liquor, at least restricting the timing or say screening  of cinema etc., In 1987 the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental agreement, established requirements that began the worldwide phaseout of ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). These requirements were later modified, leading to the phaseout in 1996 of CFC production in all developed nations. In 1992 the Montreal Protocol was amended to establish a schedule for the phaseout of HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). HCFCs are less damaging to the ozone layer than CFCs, but still contain ozone-destroying chlorine. US and other European Nations would want all third World countries to stop using all comforts  but they themselves would do little.

Back home, those who talk loud of noise pollution and other pollution – would do precious little themselves.  Would people stop using Refrigerators, Air conditioners at home…. Would people at least start travelling by ordinary cars avoiding AC in car ?  - no but pollution is bad !!!!

Over the past couple of years, traders in Parrys as also in other residential areas have been hit by the Court order prohibiting sale in such areas.  The Court had directed that all wholesale and retail traders should sell firecrackers at specified places ~ this year also temporary structures have been erected at  Island Grounds and a few more at YMCA, Royapettah.  It is contended that cracker shops should not be allowed in the narrow lanes and bylanes of Flower bazaar and hence shifted to a safer area – Island grounds.  Though there have been similar pleas in earlier years, last year was the first  when permission was not  granted by Police.  

With no other option available, the cracker dealers had to confine themselves to narrow strips in Island Grounds –the entrance is near War memorial and the place for parking is not all that laid out.  The shops are arranged in Blocks in rows and sales are picking up. The prices of crackers have been going up every year and this year too, they have increased.  It is for sure that the spiralling prices have not dampened  the spirit of people  - people are too willing and raring to purchase crackers and alight the sky with flower pots and dazzling ones.

Newspaper reports suggest that on Saturday, fire service personnel demonstrated the use of extinguishers and explained precautions to be taken, to the dealers at Island Grounds. Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) has approved of 800 cracker shops, including the 120 shops at the Grounds. It is stated that each shop has been allowed to store 100 kg of firecrackers.  Earlier, three plastic surgeons from Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, visited seven city schools — Corporation-run and private — to teach students preventive measures.  That shows the preparedness and planning of the authorities.  Come, experience the pleasure of shopping and celebrate Deepavali with fireworks.

Have you purchased crackers………….. in everything I purchase, I have the habit of buying from the same person / same company – make deal only with those who are pleasant and ensure that you remain cheerful and pleasant to them also…. After all, life is all about exchanging pleasantries and remaining happy – no point in fighting for petty things and losing our balance and mental peace.  This year too, I bought ‘Bunny brand’ – Ayyan fireworks – from Best Crackers Centre at Theevu Thidal A Bloc shop……….. I have been their regular customer for decades at their 23 Anderson Street shop.  It sure gave me happiness when the owner greeted me with a big smile and gave a small discount too. 

Wishing you all Happy and Safe Deepavali 2013.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.