“Mom, this year we must make some fireworks at home. In Laltu’s house…. his uncle make them at home!”said Deep.
“ But Christmas is many months away” !
“ No, No… I am talking about Deepavali”
“Ah… that’s a good idea. Why not you talk with your dad ? He is now at his friend’s place… I mean Doctor uncle’s Chamber”.
Deep did not waste any time, and, within the next few minutes he was at the Doctor’s Chamber.He placed his demand straight away
“Dad, this year for the Deepavali, we must make some fireworks…. I mean fire-sparklers…. the Tubri….. I told Mom…. and she said to talk to you.”
Deep knew pretty well that such a proposition would normally have a query… whether Mom is in the know ! At this juncture, the man sitting next to Dad said
“ Don’t worry dada.... I can make good fireworks, I will help him”
“Ah…. here is Niyaz uncle …. he will help you….go with him.”
Deep was immensely happy, and almost dragged Niyaz home. Seeing Niyaz, Mom said:
“So, Niyaz he roped you in for this …. but be careful…. he is only 10 years old… though he may look older…. moreover, he may at times could be a dare-devil !
“Don’t worry didi… I can handle ..”.
Next few days were exciting for Deep. First, Niyaz uncle took a real info-session on the subject. Deep learned that there are two types of Tubri,….. the one that can fly in the sky,
called Uran Tubri. The other is called Boson Tubri.…. which is stationary, paced on the ground and lit up…..and, that flying type is prohibited for small children. What would be made was Boson Tubri. Next, the ingredients….. First task is to make charcoal. Deep was asked to get some dried wild-berry tree branches. Deep’s house was inside a campus, and, in the campus near the boundary wall there were at least two such trees. Deep ran and came back after some time with some dried branches….. with bruise in both the hands….. there were small thorns all over the branches. There was a short break for putting anti-septic lotion on the bruises. Then
Niyaz uncle made small pieces of those branches, made small digging in the backyard, placed those dried branch pieces, fired them and once there was rising flame, placed a large leaf on it, and very quickly filled up earth on top of the leaf. So the burning wood were buried fully.
Next was to get earthen pots…. for Tubri there were special earthen pots…..round in shape…. size of a tennis ball… on one side a small hole….on the opposite, about an inch size hole. They were bought from the nearby Ballygunge Station market . Then from a shop in the nearby Purbasha
Cinema hall area, the other items i.e. sora (salt-petre) and gandhak (sulphur) were bought. Finally Deep and Niyaz uncle came to a small workshop where they made iron parts. Here Niyaz uncle said to Deep
“you should go to the owner and tell him that you need some iron-dust for making Tubri….. he would normally not ask for money from a child “!
Deep obeyed Niyaz and got the iron dust, free of cost, in a paper bag. By the time they returned home, it was already late evening..and time to call it a day. The night Deep could not sleep well, and, at least twice got up, too early, in the dead of the night…. thinking it was already a sun-rise.
Next morning, Niyaz uncle came around 9 a.m. First thing was to get hold of the ‘haman-
dista’ – the iron-made pounding tool. Deep retrieved this from the junk-room located behind the house. First the big-leaf was removed… and…. there was this burnt berry branches. All black. They were carefully picked up and made into charcoal dust with the help of the haman-dista. Deep realised it was quite a heavy labour job. The Sora and the Gandhak too were pounded into dust.
“Good Tubri depended on the right kind of formula….. 4:3:1:1 was a good kind of formula” explained Niyaz juncle. Meaning 4 parts of sora, 3 parts of iron dust, 1 part each of gandhak and charcoal dust. They were mixed thoroughly and now started the most difficult part….. putting this mixture inside the earthen pots. With one finger closing the small hole and pouring the mixture through the bigger hole was quite a tricky work. With the help of a blunt object, a round wooden piece, the mixture had to be pressed real hard.
That year Deep and his three sisters had a lot of fun watching the sparklers. Beautiful golden coloured sparkles rising high, much better and peaceful than those noisy crackers! On the suggestion by some, Deep saved a few Tubri to use it on the Christmas night. But when Deep actually tried to fire them up on the Christmas night, a few months later, none of them worked and would never fire-up….., for, it became rock-hard, due to damp weather.
(pix courtesy: Google)