Let's get cracking

Let's get cracking

Chandni Chowk is always fun if you are patient enough to get through the crowds and can bare the loud noise of the vehicles all around you. One needs to know the criss-crossing bylanes and gallis, otherwise one is more than likely to get lost in the maddening labyrinth`.

Buried deep in the chaos on Pai Walan Gali in Chandni Chowk in old Delhi, are the scores of big and small stores selling fire crackers - and round the year too.

The road, just round the corner from gate number 3 of Jama Masjid in the Walled City, begins when you see ‘no smoking’ signs and bright red fire extinguishers.

A congested lane in Delhi 6, the lane only has shops selling ‘patakhas’. One of the oldest shops selling only firecrackers for the last 70 years is Imperial Fireworks Co. This has been the family business of the Shrivastava brothers for the past three generations now.
The Shrivastava brothers – Harish, Suresh and Naresh Chandra have now stepped back to let the younger generation run the business.

 One of the workers who doesn’t wish to be named, says, “We are the busiest during the festival times – Diwali, Dusshera, New Year, Christmas and wedding seasons, etc.”
Although the government and activists are busy running campaigns like ‘say no to fire crackers’ in an attempt to bring down air pollution levels, these shops make moolah throughout the year.

 “There is no concept of eco-friendly fire crackers. The ones that were used during CWG were pollution free but they are not available here. You will only get the conventional crackers which have both – air and noise pollution,” adds the employee.

From phooljhadis to bombs to ladis to anaars to chakris, one can get all this and more in this market. Another shop, Majestic Fireworks Company, shares the same thing.
 “It is not that we make great sales throughout the year but, yes, it is excellent during peak seasons like weddings and festivals.”

So, next time you know where to head for a crackling Diwali or a wedding!