Ways to make your Deepavali smokeless

Bengalureans are coming up with innovations to make the festival less hazardous and less polluting
Last Updated 24 October 2019, 03:07 IST

Many in Bengaluru are looking for eco-friendly alternatives to conventional firecrackers this season. Metrolife compiles some initiatives.

Crackers that turn into plants

Roshan Ray, founder of Seed Paper India, came up with an idea of plantable firecrackers last Deepavali; instead of bursting crackers, you sow cracker replicas and turn them into plants.

His personal experience inspired him to come up with this idea with the objective of promoting safety.

As a child, Roshan suffered from burns while lighting a flower pot. That prompted him to think of ways to make the festivities less hazardous.

“Last year, there were about 50 burns cases and 70 eye injury cases in Bengaluru. With this initiative, we are trying to change people’s perception about crackers,” he says.

Roshan is making bombs and rockets from recycled paper and cotton waste, with seeds embedded in them. The seeds vary from vegetables and fruits to herbs.

“For rockets, we have used marigold seeds, similarly, bijli bomb and chakras grow into tulsi plants, and the hydrogen bomb into a tomato plant,” he says.

The colours used are organic, made, for instance, from beetroot juice and spinach.

“Instead of bursting ‘patakis’, you can now grow and eat them. It’s high time we celebrated Deepavali with minimal environmental consequences,” says Roshan.

Eggcellent ‘pataka’

Vinesh Johny of Lavonne Academy of Baking Science and Pastry Arts, recently posted an intriguing ‘egg pataka’ on his Instagram. Adorned with little firecrackers, it was touted as an alternative to bursting crackers.

“I made it a gifting alternative to the traditional box of chocolates and Indian sweets,” says Vinesh.
The egg is hollow and made of chocolate; it is filled with an assortment of confectionaries, truffles and caramels. He took the idea from Easter eggs that depict new beginnings, “I thought the essence of Deepavali is the same, and breaking into an egg full of goodies would give the same delight as a cracker.”

The size is that of an Ostrich egg and it is priced at Rs 950. “We only made 40 eggs and all of them have been booked,” says Vinesh.

Edible bombs and sweet ‘bijlis’

The last few days have been busy for home baker Rina Chakravarty. Usually, Deepavali is a busy time, and the buzz this time is chocolates that look like crackers.

Rina has made chocolates in the shape of lamps, and the idea is to make gifts that look like crackers.

“We, as a family, have reduced bursting crackers over the years. This time, I am making chocolates with various flavours and shapes,” she says.

Wallet factor

A box of six assorted chocolates costs Rs 200, with flavours varying from paan, roasted almond, roasted coconut and caramel, orange blast and liquor.

Rina is on Instagram with the name of @sweettooth.doyouhaveone

Origami swag instead of smoke

Mahesh Kukreja began trying his hand at paper art in 1993.

With all the buzz around an eco-friendly Deepavali, he decided to create origami crackers. “If I can make even one person switch from polluting crackers, I’d consider that a win,” he says.

His ‘origami cracker’ is made with two long strips of paper, and when you snap it, it makes a loud noise. Yes, we tried it and got quite some startled looks in office.

You can make these with any kind of paper, including handbills and old newspapers.

The sound varies on the basis of the paper used.

An origami cracker can be used at least a hundred times.

Wallet factor

A box of seed crackers: Rs 450 to Rs 650.

The box also contains organic fertiliser, made of coconut fibre.

How to make a paper cracker

Cut an A4 sized piece of paper vertically in half. You get two long strips.

Fold and unfold strips horizontally and vertically in half, making creases in the form of a plus.

Take a strip and fold longer edges to the centre.

Fold in half vertically.

Repeat step 3 and 4 with the other strip of paper.

Fasten both pieces of paper together, keeping one over the other and taping the edges. Your origami cracker is ready, push the taped ages towards the centre and pull apart quickly to make a noise. The loudness depends on the quickness of the pull.

(Published 23 October 2019, 14:57 IST)

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