Over the years, bamboo bursting has sounded off the period leading up to the festival of lights.
However, according to some, the explosive Divali tradition is now said to be fading.
Dating back to when it was also bent into intricate designs to adorn deyas, the bamboo has always played a role in bringing people together for Divali.
In communities scattered across the country, the loud blasts would echo to the amazement of young ones and annoyance of the elderly. I recall my parents kicking up a fuss about the sudden disturbance which pierced the air and jolted them with surprise with the cannon-like explosions from the hollowed-out bamboo.
In recent times, the booming, once synonymous with the celebration that marks new beginnings, has seemingly ceased and according to one “bamboo bussing” expert from Mon Plaisir road, Roger Ramlal it is because today’s youth are not interested in the tradition.
“Actually it has faded a lot in the village here, normally every Divali or two weeks before Divali bamboo bursting by everybody house. For the past couple years, it just stop because the younger generation have no idea about bursting bamboo, nowadays generation only just want the fireworks.”
For decades Ramlal and other is in the area clashed in bamboo bursting competitions, but the decline in the tradition has left him disappointed.
He feared the decline could also be attributed to the dangers involved.
“When you bursting bamboo sometime it split and the kerosene leaks and catches fire, when you blowing air out bamboo and fire comes back out where you blowing the fire from, sometimes you get what we call a “goutie” or “manicou,” that when your eyebrows get burnt off.”
Admittedly, I am guilty of this.
I have always been intrigued with “bamboo bussing” but could never muster the confidence to do it, especially after hearing several horror stories of people being burnt or losing their eyebrows.
A strict warning from my parents also stood in my way.
However, the time had come where I faced my fears in an effort to keep the flame alive.
At sundown, in a dimly lit narrow road off Mon Plaisir, Ramlal and others from the village provided me with a crash course in the art form.
The flambeau, kerosene and close contact with fire were enough for me to wimp out but it was too late to turn back.
With Ramlal’s last words, “Yuh hadda blow out the smoke from the bamboo so when the fire blow out the bamboo, it builds back the compression,” it was now the moment of truth.
Armed with a stick fuse, the movement was swift, kerosene was poured into a small opening in the bamboo, the fuse was then lit and I was ordered to blow into the hole several times, with a shaky hand I placed the flambeau into the hole and then…boom!
A gunshot like sound which reverberated around the area.
After I was told that the blast was a very soft one compared to others, I was simply grateful to have my eyebrows.