It’s that time of the year when everybody goes a bit crackers, looking to add some sparkle to the Diwali celebrations. However, thanks to the Supreme Court, this year, the clampdown on fireworks sent people in a spin as they desperately searched for the elusive Green Crackers, a species that seemed as rare to spot as the Yeti. In India, the art of jugaad and hidden variations, as in teen patti, ensured that manufacturers and sellers who were seeing red at the green cracker directive, ensured that enough explosive devices were illegally available to keep the home fires burning. The latest arsenal of fireworks comes with some interesting variations. Here are the more popular ones:
Rose Patel: Built to record-breaking specifications by a manufacturer in Gujarat, this newly launched firecracker can rise to great heights and dwarf all other competitors in this particular category. Comes with a high price tag, which would have been higher if not for the collaboration with China which supplied material and manpower to ensure a big bang debut with the ability to be seen for miles around. Set to dominate that particular genre but rumours are afloat that a manufacturer of fireworks in Lucknow could have higher ambitions.
Full Metal Jacket: Hugely popular for its ability to stage multiple explosions and expand in size, it has dominated the market for the last four years. Also referred to as the Modi Jacket after its designer, the nomenclature Full Metal Jacket is deceptive (and destructive) since the outer coating is actually Teflon, which means that it can withstand competition from rockets and missiles used by its rivals. Once the fuse is lit, it can perform amazing pyrotechnics and theatrics meant to dazzle and intimidate.
Razzle Dazzle: Only meant for those who combine scrabble with flush since the point of this sparkler is to have everyone spinning like a Catherine Wheel, or chakra, trying to decipher the patterns and verbal pyrotechnics. Also called Shashi Spin, after its creator, Mr Tharoor, it uses highly esoteric and complex ingredients to leave everyone in a spin. Marketed under such unpronounceable names such as “Floccinaucinihilipilification” and “Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia”, the sparkler comes with its own dictionary so that users can identify the product and its usage.
The Giri Garland: Garlands are popular items since they combine a prolonged series of blasts and provocations, almost unceasing in frequency and ferocity. Named after originator Giriraj Singh, it’s a single-purpose cracker that can be identified by its deep saffron colour and ability to take extreme positions when set alight. Sellers describe this particular brand as the equivalent of an automatic rifle, able to fire multiple shots without a break and all aimed at the same target. Promises to set the market alight and send its rivals scurrying to Pakistan.
The Demon Squib: A squid is a miniature device that provides pyrotechnic effects. However, there is a version called damp squib, which starts with great promise and sparks fly but then suddenly fizzles out, losing steam and purpose and leaving the buying public with great big holes in their pockets. Introduced last year by the ever-productive Modi factory, the model, branded demonetisation, met the general description of damp squib by falling far short of its marketing hype. In cricket, the equivalent would be the googly or the wrong ‘un, which leaves users foxed and frustrated, not to mention cashless.
Rafale: Named after the French fighter jet, this Made In India version has the ability to be explosive and fire missiles and rockets even though it is nowhere in sight. Imported into the country under the Ease of Doing Business clause, it has already created mayhem and earned profits without any work having started. Favoured by businessmen, or favoured businessmen, as its rivals allege, the Rafale is what the trade calls a hot button issue, meaning it can be as potent in small numbers as opposed to large orders.
The Pataka: The original word for a firecracker with oomph and appeal, one that arouses pangs of envy and desire in those who watch the gyrations and hip thrusting movements that these bombshells are capable off. The most popular brands are called Kareena and Katrina, capable of grabbing eyeballs when they are on song.
Doom: Named after a famous video game, it expands when put under pressure, and can also contract when its contract expires, or sooner as the case may well be. Latest version of Doom, locally called Urjit, can be banked upon to perform autonomously but is also a prime target for more powerful players who have the official stamp of authority. It is guaranteed to go out with a bang.