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Flip Side: Going crackers

The latest arsenal of fireworks comes with some interesting variations. Here are the more popular ones.

Written by Dilip Bobb |
Updated: October 19, 2014 2:02:52 am
Each year brings some new explosive devices to keep us entertained. Each year brings some new explosive devices to keep us entertained.

It’s that time of the year when everybody goes a bit crackers, looking to add some sparkle to the Diwali celebrations. Spirits are slightly dampened this year because firecrackers are costing a bomb, but we are used to such variations, especially those who celebrate the festival with a bit of card play. Each year brings some new explosive devices to keep us entertained. The latest arsenal of fireworks comes with some interesting variations. Here are the more popular ones.

The Big Bang: Also known as the Modi wave, it has exploded on the scene this season and taken the market by storm. It’s a multi-purpose cracker that generates a shockwave that can travel long distances and has been gaining in popularity ever since its launch this season. It has recently made waves in Maharashtra and Haryana, where it looks set to topple the local brands. What adds to its effectiveness is its ability to appeal to a wide cross-section of users, young and old, women and men, even markets abroad, where it is often referred to as ‘Rockstar’.

The Damp Squib: A squid is a miniature device that provides pyrotechnic effects, much like the theatrics one sees on stage during an election. The Damp Squib, also referred to as the Bababomb, since it meets the general description of being anything that falls far short of expectations, as in the Baba has bombed. In card party circles, it is called the Mother and Son variation, but in official circles, the phrase Damp Squib refers to any firework that fails to perform because it is still wet behind the ears.

The Mushroom Cloud: Generally called as such because its creator Pervez Musharraf loves to dabble with explosives and sneak attacks while facing multiple charges. It is generally recognised by its characteristic sounds: bluff and bluster, now reduced, thanks to age and decay, by sputter and fizzle. Way past its use by date, it is capable of misfiring and sending sparks into the neighbour’s property.

The Solo Sparkler: Also referred to as the missing minister, which seems to be the case when the Solo Sparkler gets all the attention and coverage, while his cabinet colleagues recede further into the distance and become foreign objects, rarely seen and only occasionally heard. It is marketed under the Peacock brand name.

The Boomerang: Known for its ability to recoil and create a double whammy, especially when shot from the hip, or lip. Also called the Hammer of Tharoor, it was named after the Congress leader who can only do wrong, even if what he does is right, and get hammered in the process. Or axed, as was the case with his previous designation. The Boomerang was a well-packaged product, but when dunked in hot water, loses shine and can be confused with a product marketed by the Opposition.

The Big Bash: Wildly popular in Bangalore and Gurgaon where it can explode suddenly, or bang galore, for no reason except that it could be seen as a violent reaction to anything Chinese-looking. Called the Big Bash because it mimics the sound of objects like hockey sticks or cricket bats hitting flesh and bone. Mostly used in areas where people from the Northeast reside, it is crude, irrational and extremely volatile if mixed with alcohol.

Free Fall: Means fireworks for free. The biggest display, bordering on the ridiculous, is at the border, where the Rangers and the BSF are shooting rockets and explosives with alarming frequency, disregarding the collateral damage to life and property. Marketed under the Chhappan Chhati brand.

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