I think I stopped bursting crackers quite a few years back after some bad experiences. When I was about 9 or 10, I celebrated Diwali with my paternal cousins for the first time. There are 2 boys and a girl, much older than me. So, all the “kids” were asked to burst crackers under the older cousin’s supervision. Anxious to get back to the safe territory before the Lakshmi vedi burst, I ran into my cousin with one of those huge incense sticks in my hand. Before I knew it, his brand new shorts had a big hole burnt in it and oh, I burnt his thigh as well. I was so petrified of what was to come that I started howling a couple of knotches higher than him. So, when the parents came out running, for a minute, they had trouble understanding which one of us was hurt. As usual, we were back to business in about 20 minutes when my parents and his were still fighting over the issue. After that, there were a few burns and bruises in our many Bijili fights, nothing serious though. Bijili fights, for the ignorant, are fights where you stand on either side of a low wall/gate and light bijilis and throw them at each other.
Then, for a couple of years after that, I regularly came down with a bad cold and high fever during diwali. This was attributed to a bad case of dust allergy 🙂 That was pretty much when I started losing interest in the whole thing. Then, the 14-16 phase happened when you had to protest against bursting crackers. It was the whole pseud intellectual display that kinda became a social norm. Even when my dad insisted that it was “sasthram” to at least light a “busvaanam,” I had to protest. After that, the interest weaned, and there was almost no bursting crackers.
This year, I’ve already been home a few days now and my cousin, who’s about 10 years younger than me, is a big cracker enthusiast. It started with having to supervise him when my aunt and uncle were busy. Now, I really enjoy bursting crackers. Although, the interest in all the big bombs and the wars have not returned, I really like all those “girly” fireworks, the colorful, noiseless, big flowery ones. I like drawing stuff in the air with those sparklers and lighting two flower pots at the same time and jumping in and out of the maze created by the zameen chakkar.
Its good to be home!