The man who destroyed a Pietermaritzburg family’s Diwali lanterns and hurled vulgarities at them for using fireworks, has apologised for his behaviour. In a meeting, facilitated by the Midlands Hindu Society recently, the man offered to pay for the damaged lanterns and supplied a written apology to the family.In November this year, Reshika Pillay told The Witness that a “white man” parked outside their home and began shouting and using vulgar words at them for lighting fireworks. The family, who live in Meadows near Mkondeni, met with the man recently and have since accepted his apology and withdrawn criminal charges against him. The man, who asked not to be named in the newspaper, said in a letter to the family that his behaviour was not racially motivated. “I lost my temper because the loud fireworks going off near my house upset and traumatised my dogs,” he said. He said his one dog in particular was given tranquillisers and had been kept inside the house with music on. But the dog “kept running up and down inside the house uncontrollably and scratched my wife and I”.He said he drove around the neighbourhood to find the source of the fireworks and came across the Pillay household about four houses away from his. In his apology to the family, the neighbour admitted to breaking their lanterns and using vulgarities towards them. He said he was told by chairperson of the Midlands Hindu Society, advocate Ranjiv Nirghin, that his neighbours were not in contravention of any bylaws as they purchased fireworks from a legal and reputable dealer and lit them within the stipulated times. “With this information I will now react differently during Diwali,” he wrote. Nirghin said the man could not understand why it was necessary to have loud bangs on Diwali if it was a festival of lights.“It was explained the bangs were part of the explosion that ignited the aerial display in the sky and was within the accepted stipulated legal guidelines,” Nirghin said. He said the Midlands Hindu Society supported the legal use of fireworks within the stipulated periods in terms of the bylaws that took eight years to be approved by Msunduzi Municipality and have been in place since September 2012. During the meeting the Pillay family members each explained how traumatised and shocked they were by the neighbour’s behaviour. In November, Pillay told The Witness that she saw the neighbour approaching them with a long stick.“He hit and broke our lanterns and clay lamps and continued to hit our fence and wall as he swore at us,” she said.Pillay said the man came across “as being racist” as he had allegedly said: “It’s you f***ing people that have no f***ing brains”.