13 Nov 2012

‘Thataku tapakayalu’ are here again

G. V. R. Subba Rao
The crackers lost charm after the arrival of fancy items
The ‘Thataku tapakayalu’, one of the favourite crackers of coastal Andhrites for Diwali, are on sale again at fire cracker stalls here. Also on sale are other hot favourite ‘tara juvvalu’. Juvvalu, fondly called ‘havvai suvvai’, are not available abundantly at the stalls, but they made their presence felt.
Very few stalls at the PWD Grounds where the fire crackers are on sale, have put up the thataku tapakayalu, the bombs covered with palm leaves. A bunch of 25 thataku tapakalu is available for Rs.30. “There were no ‘Lakshmi’ bombs or ‘atom’ bombs, which one saw everywhere during Diwali during one’s childhood. The ‘thataku tapakalu’ were the only source to make a loud noise during the Diwali,” recalls Chaluvadi Satyanarayana, a senior citizen.
Thataku tapakayalu lost their charm after the advent of fancy items and crackers from Sivakasi. Generally, the youth used to make thataku tapakayalu and tara juvvalu at their homes. It was a must item in the list of crackers and even children used to insist on buying a pack for them, added S. Narasimha Rao, his associate, who was at the grounds to buy crackers for his grandchildren.
Some local traders also used to make the thataku tapakaylu. But, due to cost escalation, labour problems and flooding of fancy items, the manufacturing of this item has come down. Thataku tapakayalu, also called as galaxies, were not seen during last two-three years, says Jupudi Srinivas, a stall owner. There used to be competitions between colonies and localities in lighting up tara juvvalu. The juvvalu, a primitive form of ‘rocket crackers’ used to criss-cross between two contesting groups standing at the ends of a street. The havvai suvvai were considered as big man’s cracker, and children used to look at it with awe, recalls Mr. Satyanarayana.

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