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I am a multimedia journalist currently working as a Senior Web Journalist/ Videographer with Khaleej Times in Dubai, UAE. Prior to this, I worked as a news editor with CNN’s Indian affiliate in Noida. I graduated from Syracuse University in New York state in 2012 with a Masters degree in Broadcast and Digital journalism. I have worked in video production, online journalism, features writing and market research over a period of four years.

For a “green” Diwali…

By Nilanjana Gupta (NEW DELHI) Do your children look forward to bursting crackers every Diwali? It’s time for indulgences and it would be a shame to deprive them but a gentle reminder of the noise and sound pollution  — to an older child, you can quote some statistics to show just how badly the earth needs a “break” from these evils — that crackers bring about may be a good idea. But take care, make sure you don’t take the joy out of the festival: be firm where it really matters, and make a few compromises where you can. Here’s what some parents have to say…

Limit the indulgence and the budget!

Anu Palta, 36, interior designer, Delhi , and mother of 10-year-old Aakriti and seven-year-old Armaan

‘It’s true that school plays an important role as my children value “It’s in the books” more than what we tell them. One practice that I usually follow is to limit the budget for their expenditure on crackers. I do not let them purchase crackers such as string bombs, as they are not only very loud, but also more expensive than the relatively “peaceful” phuljhadis and chakris. I give in when the crackers are low on noise and have a visual appeal. For instance, I let them buy rockets, but limit the purchase to no more than three pieces. Also, I encourage them to go for a community celebration rather than individual celebration, as this reduces the cost, and environmental pollution. Besides, I try to delay the purchase of crackers till the last day before Diwali, when the shops are tight on their stock, giving my children fewer options to choose from!’

Compensate with other “extras”

DN Gupta, 45, marketing executive, and father of 12-year-old Dipankar and owner of a spaniel

‘I follow a different strategy to deal with my stubborn son. I tell him about the harmful consequences of loud crackers and also how much they upset and terrify our pet dog. So, even if it’s not for the environment, he gives in to ensure the comfort of his pet. But to compensate, I provide him with certain incentives. For instance, I let him buy more of his favourite things such as books and computer games, and let him watch television for extra hours. I even encourage him to celebrate the occasion with less-privileged children – this teaches him to share with those who don’t have the resources.’

Appreciate their initiatives

Dr Rachna Singh, 36, lifestyle management expert, Gurgaon, and mother of seven-year-old Aveka

‘My daughter is conscious about the hazards caused due to crackers, mostly due to the concerted efforts of the school teachers. Schools are doing their bit in creating awareness, as well as encouraging the children to go the “eco-friendly” way. My daughter, for instance, besides refusing to buy crackers for herself, did not even allow others in the family to purchase them. Her school played a very influential role here, as later she had to report to her teacher about the meagre number of harmful crackers that were purchased by her family. So, this positive competition and peer pressure in school kept her self-motivated. While some members in the family tried to discourage her, my job was only to appreciate and salute her wise initiative!’

This story was published in the November 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.

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