Festivals in India are around the corner and the celebrations have already started. The festival of Raksha Bandhan is falling on August 22 this year and the markets are lit with preparations and decorations. Last year, amid coronavirus, the celebrations were restricted within homes as people couldn't go outside. However, as the situation has improved, people are moving out and gracing the markets to get sweets and rakhis.
From simple to fashionable, a huge range of rakhis is available in the market. We could see cartoon characters rakhis like chota bheem, motu-patlu, doraemon and shin chan rakhis in the market which are favourite among kids. There are sparkling light rakhis that are also available to attract kids. For people with simple choices, rakhi with single moli dhaga and rudraksh rakhis are easily available in markets.
We can also see eco-friendly rakhis with seeds in them. These innovative rakhis can be dumped easily in flower pots which will, later on, turn into a plant. A rakhi seller in INA market said, “This year, new designs are introduced with colourful patterns. People mostly prefer rakhi with pearls and religious tags.”
However some people have a luxurious preference, for them, rakhi made of real gold and silver, are available at jewellery shops.
You can see happy faces celebrating the pleasure of festivals at famous places of Delhi like Delhi Haat, Sarojini Nagar and many more, but due to Covid, these places are not very crowded. One of Delhi Haat shopkeepers, Pawan Kumar said, “There used to be a lot of customers in a day before Covid, but you can hardly see anyone around these days.”
Shopkeepers from INA market also said that sales have gone down as a lesser number of people are visiting the market in the last two years. Stalls for rakhi have been arranged late due to less customer footfall. “Customers are also buying lesser products. We are going to incur losses,” one of the shopkeepers said.
Another shopkeeper Manish Dutani said, “There is less craze among people for the festival. We used to install special counters for selling rakhi 20-15 days before the festival but in the wake of coronavirus, there are lesser customers.”
The girls used to visit the markets for mehendi but due to the spread of the virus, the craftsmen are facing difficulties in finding customers.
Celebrations of Indian festivals are incomplete without sweets (mithai). Ghevar, rasgulla and soan-papdi are some of the most preferred sweet dishes. People used to buy them from outside. This time, people are preferring home-made sweets or gift hampers full of chocolates, juice packs, and other sweets.