A drop in business

Festival Spirit

A drop in business

The festive season is here and Bangaloreans are gearing up for an extended weekend to celebrate Gowri Habba and Ganesha Habba.

Sprucing up houses, arranging Ganesha idols to perform puja along with preparing delicacies like Mysore pak, kolakatte (both sweet and salty), karagadebu and payasam — among a host of other dishes — are keeping people busy. While some have already completed their shopping for the festival, others are waiting for the weekend to head out to the markets. 

Ravi Kannan, a professional, says that this year is all the more special since his family will be holding their house-warming ceremony as well. “We’ve shopped a lot this year and already made most of our purchases,” he says. However, owing to the high prices, Ravi says that they have had to cut corners. “While we buy a big Ganesha idol every year, this time we decided to go for a small mud idol. The prices have gone up considerably,” he explains. 

Yashaswini HL is looking to bond with her family over an elaborate meal during the festival. “All the items are prepared fresh on the day of the festival. After the puja we have a family lunch,” she says, adding, “in the evening, we usually visit a temple and my grandparents’ house to take the blessings of elders.”   

Priya S, who has recently shifted from Mumbai, says that she is eager to see a different kind of celebration here. “Along with my family, I will be preparing around 10 dishes for the festival. We have an elaborate puja at home and we have invited our relatives over.

 On Gowri Habba, we prepare around five dishes and give gifts to women who come to our house,” she says. She adds that new clothes have been bought for the occasion. “We have invested in some gold like we do every year,” says Priya.  

However, jewellery and sari store owners feel that the rush they experienced in the previous years is missing. “We haven’t got a good response this year. The concept of buying gold for a festival is going down since people are opting to buy gold when the rates are reasonable. In fact, I find that many customers are thinking twice before buying even 100 grams of gold,” says Santosh Raju, who runs Kantilal Raju Jewellers on Avenue Road. “The falling value of the rupee has had a major impact on the gold prices,” he adds.

Garment store owners have similar complaints. “People used to purchase two to three saris for the festival. But this year, we’ve hardly had people coming in for shopping. And if they do, they just pick up one sari,” explains Praveen, manager at Navaratan Silks on MG Road. Agrees Kishore Nagpal, manager of Sadhwani’s, although he is not able to pinpoint the reason behind the 50 per cent fall in sales. “Even with items on sale, the drop has been drastic,” he says. 

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