Navin Mansure (10) and his younger brother Nikhil (8) used to wait for Diwali so they could light anaars and chakris. But the boys have sworn not to touch firecrackers again.
Navin was lighting a chakri in the compound of their Wadala chawl building on Sunday night when it exploded. The sparks flew into his eyes and he blanked out while Nikhil’s right hand got burnt. “I got very scared. I could not see anything,” said Navin, “Crackers are bad. I will never burst them again.”
Fortunately, no particulate matter entered Navin's eyes. “It was only smoke and dust. He will be fine,” said ophthalmic surgeon Dr S Natrajan from Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, where he was treated.
Navin’s grandmother Nirmala was also shaken up after the experience. “We bought crackers from a good shop but I think they were duplicate,” she said.
Five persons were treated for burns at Sion Hospital, four at KEM Hospital, Parel and three at Cooper Hospital, Vile Parle.
Jyoti Shetty (45) admitted to Sion Hospital, is critical. “She has suffered 85 per cent burns,” said Dean Dr Sandhya Kamath. The other four are children in the age group of 6 to 15.
A 12-year-old girl was admitted to the intensive care unit of the National Burns Centre, Airoli, on Diwali night with 22 per cent burns. “Her dupatta (scarf) had caught fire from the flame of a diya (lamp),” said Dr S M Keswani.
Cracker smoke forced several chest specialists to get back to work on Monday. Dr Sanjeev Mehta of Chest Centre at Bandra (West) saw a 15 per cent increase in patient count on Monday.
Dr Pramod V Niphadkar, secretary, Asthma & Bronchitis Association of India said, “In the past two days I have been flooded with calls from patients with complaints of cough, yellow phlegm and breathlessness.”
(Inputs by Naziya Alvi)