Physical scars may fade, but trauma stays put. Fireworks burn victims tell Maleeva Rebello and Apoorva Puranik you can never be too careful when it comes to crackers. Here’s how to play it safe this Diwali
Diwali is just a day away, with decorations up in homes and on the streets. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Chinmay Kathe, 30, Vikhroli
Incident: This stock manager was 10 when playing with a Lakshmi bomb. “I had an agarbatti (incense stick) in one hand and the bomb in the other. It burst in my hand, burning a part of my hand and stomach. I felt as though I was on fire. I can’t forget the pain,” says Kathe.
Message: Keep the cracker on the ground and then light it. Avoid using an agarbatti, use a sparkler to light crackers. Do not touch a lit cracker.
Prachi Moon, 24, Kurla
Incident: During Diwali 2011, Moon suffered serious burns on her right hand as a flowerpot cracker exploded in her palm. She recalls, “I tried to light a flower pot, but, it did not light. I prodded it a second time but no luck. Then, I took the cracker in my hand, and it exploded on my palm. I barely remember what happened after. I was in shock.”
Message: Stay away from crackers altogether. There are better ways to celebrate.
Kishor Patil, 32, Sion-Chunnabati
Incident: Twelve years ago, the IT (Information Technology) professional was lighting crackers in his society compound, when a flower pot exploded in his face. He says, “My father was with me at the time and, for a few minutes, I couldn’t see anything. I was in a state of shock. My dad and I both suffered burns on our faces.”
Message: Sparklers are the safest fireworks. Stay as far away as you can when the cracker burns.
Faiz Bogani, 22, Byculla
Incident: While lighting a flower pot eight years ago, this media professional suffered a burn near his left eye. Bogani says, “The firework wasn’t lit properly, so I went to inspect it closely and that is when it hit me in my face. My family and friends rushed me to JJ Hospital. I remember being scared.” The doctor checked Bogani’s eye but the test was clear; he was called to check his burn injury recovery every 15 days.
Message: If a cracker doesn’t burst, let it be. Don’t keep trying to light it. And it’s best not to go close to a burning firework.
Arul Lekha Trailokya, 25, Andheri
Incident: The IT professional cannot see from his right eye due to a Diwali mishap from 15 years ago. It also ended his dream of becoming a pilot. He says, “I went to look at a firework closely, as I was intrigued by the flame. It burst and the spark went right into my eye. I blanked out and haven’t been able to see from one eye since.”
Message: Keep crackers away from the body. Avoid wearing loose clothes. They can catch fire easily.
Diwali e-nitiative we like
Diwali means house cleaning but now there’s a new twist to the sweep, swob, dust and get rid of the old stuff tale. Ecoreco, a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) that works with electronic waste (E-waste) is urging Mumbaikars to clean out their electronic waste, too.
A social drive called ‘E-waste Mukt Bharat’ started by the NGO, is looking to facilitate correct disposal of e-waste and recycling. Ecoreco is setting up ‘Eco Bins’ across the city at educational and religious institutions.
B K Soni, Chairman and Managing Director of Ecoreco, said, “We are trying to make bins available to the public, so chip boards, mobile handsets and batteries, can be disposed correctly. E-waste includes discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment device electronics, mobile phones, television sets, refrigerators, etc. The burning or burying of these parts damages the environment.”
There are bins at Sanyas Ashram in Vile Parle and at the Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (Corporate Office) in Worli, says Soni. Call Ecoreco: 9004092105 to know where the closest e-waste drop box is located.