As Diwali preparations go into full swing, it’s time to get your kitty of crackers ready. And what place better than Mohammed Ali Road, one of the most prominent firecracker markets in the city? Located below the serpentine JJ Flyover, the place is one of the few that stocks crackers throughout the year. Just days before Diwali, the place gets flooded with street stalls, which are far more popular than the larger establishments like Eesabhai.
However, surprisingly on Sunday evening, just days before Diwali, the market wore a deserted look. Seems like the media campaign against firecrackers has had its effects. Says Sameer Sheikh, who’s been selling firecrackers for the last 14 years, "Business is down by about 25 per cent this year. I don’t know what is stopping people from buying. But if this continues, we’ll have to bear losses. After all, firecrackers are a seasonal product and come with an expiry date."
In spite of the low turnout this year, the new arrivals are the ones doing good business. Take for example, the Railway Signal. When lit, it sounds like a railway horn and emits 140 green and red lights that represent the colours seen at railway junctions. The Mine of Serpents, which is a roll, produces eight different colours when lit. Then there is another cracker called Seven Shots that expels only colours when lit.
But according to Sameer, by far the bestseller this year has been the Chocolate Balls. Packed in multi-coloured silver foils, this cracker resemble real chocolates and, when lir, fires criss-crossing stars in all directions. The Disco Flash, which produces a white light, is another version of this firecracker.