It isn't the fallout of Team India's dismal performance at the recent T20 World Cup, but a sustained environment awareness campaign that may see Dhoni bombs take a bow from Jamshedpur this Diwali.
Unlike a decibel-doting Ranchi, rough market statistics show green crackers are indeed the new rage amongst the steel hub's eco-friendly citizens.
Firecracker dealers, mostly based in Jugsalai area of the city, revealed that sale of ear-splitting bombs ' flaunting even celebrity brand identities like Dhoni Special Chocolate or Dhoni Junior Chocolate and those named after master blast Sachin Tendulkar or desi superhero Shaktimaan ' had plummeted. Instead, people are splurging on mild sound crackers that also emit less smoke compared to the traditional patakhas.
Raunak Gulati, proprietor of RA Traders on Station-Jugsalai Road, said Dhoni chocolate and 'atom' bombs were finding few takers for the first time since they were launched.
"Ever since these bombs hit the market in 2009, they sold like hot cakes until now. We had to order more than 30 cartons from Sivakasi. This time, only 10 cartons have been ordered. Still, we are not sure whether all will be sold," Gulati said, suggesting an almost 70 per cent drop in high-decibel cracker sale.
"We had felt the green pulse of customers last year too and have, thus, ordered more than 30 cartons of environment-friendly fireworks like multi-shots and single-launchers, sparkles and chakris," the man, who has been in this trade for over a decade, added.
The multi-shot bursts into various vivid hues mid-air without much noise, while the single-launcher colours the sky with a solo shade. The sparkles too burst mid-air, but in a quick succession of 25 to 50 times spreading an array of illumined glitter on the horizon.
A green Diwali is most certainly heavy on the pocket. Eco-friendly fireworks are understandably priced much higher than decibel devils like 'atom' bombs, chocolate bombs, chain crackers, Kali patakha, dhani patakha, seven shots and rockets.
A packet of sparkles costs around Rs 1,000, while ring wheels and magic wheels are priced between Rs 200 and Rs 300. The multi-shots and single-launcher come for anything between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
In stark contrast, a packet of 'atom' bombs costs Rs 80-120, while 12 pieces of the chocolate variant is far cheaper at Rs 30-40. The price of one box of anars (10 pieces) is Rs 90-100 and a traditional chakri set (10 pieces) is easy on the pocket at Rs 80.
Mohammed Iqbal, a vendor who has been selling crackers at Aambagan grounds in Sakchi for over 10 years, said earlier he used to fetch one carton of flowerpots and chakris, two of sparkles and its ilk and more of bombs. "But, the demand has soared for fancy fireworks now despite the high price," he added.
Lochan Mangotia, another wholesaler in Jugsalai, said gauging the demand they had placed orders for green crackers with manufacturers and stockists in Tamil Nadu. "We have brought ring wheels and magic wheels, which look like traditional chakris, but emit very little smoke. They also spin more than three times," he added.
During Diwali, firecrackers worth more than Rs 50 lakh are sold across 300 shops in the city. Out of these, barely 30 per cent are high-decibel crackers, Mangotia maintained.
Mango resident Gurucharan Singh said he had managed to convince his two children to opt for low-noise crackers. "It is all sparkles and wheels for us this time," he said.
Former president of Rotary Club Ronald D' Costa pointed out that the mindset of the people and changed, thanks to sustained environment campaigns by NGOs and schools.
Principal of ADLS Sunshine School Indrani Singh said they would celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali. "Like last year, students will conduct awareness drives in various pockets of the city encouraging people to shun high-decibel crackers," she added.