Well ahead of Holi, shopping at Sadar Bazaar is at an all-time high, with customers seen here in large numbers even on a Monday morning. Shops have been set up in every nook and corner of the wholesale market.
At the market, while adults shop for gulaal, pichkari, balloons, gift packs and gujiya, children could be seen playing around. The market houses all items needed for a perfect Holi bash — colour-blowing cylinders, magic balloons, pressure sprayers, music players and water tank pichkaris.
The market response has so far been good, say traders. The abatement of Covid-19 is cited as one of the major reasons for the unprecedented crowds in the market.
To woo customers, shops here are selling pichkaaris that the city has yet not seen. One such pichkaari comes in the form of a special cylinder that blows out gulaal and is priced between Rs 550 and Rs 1300. Pichkaaris are also being sold in various attractive shapes and sizes, in a bid to attract the youth. “Pichkaaris are priced from Rs 50 to Rs 550,” says Rajan Bhatia, a shopkeeper in Chandni Chowk.
The market for herbal gulaal is also seeing a lot of demand. According to Pankaj Yadav, a merchant in Sadar Bazar, the demand for herbal gulaal is higher than before.
“Individuals have grown more mindful about using herbal colours to prevent skin damage while playing Holi. Each packet of herbal gulaal costs between Rs 15 and 20. Keeping its demand in view, I purchased a huge quantity of them. Consumers like to buy organic hues. The sale of varieties of pressure guns, pipe guns is also increasing,” he says.
“Hopefully, this season will end on a positive note for the traders, unlike the previous Holi when people were still sceptical about coming to crowded places. In fact, not just Holi, the entire festival season brought sub-par business for us, but it is now picking up. We hope to make good profits,” Yadav concludes.
Holi has ushered in excellent news for the confectioners as well. There is a significant sale of gujiya at the city’s many sweet stores. According to Vinod Bhadani, who also runs a store in the Sadar Bazar neighbourhood, the market-wide price for gujiya of pure ghee is Rs 350 per kg.
“In addition to gujiya, khoya and malpua also sell like hot cakes. Malpua costs around Rs 30 per piece and Rs 600 per kilo. We are receiving several orders in significant numbers,” he says.
Bhawvna Kapahi, who was shopping with her sister, said, “It feels amazing to finally celebrate Holi without any restrictions or fear. My entire family is looking forward to the festival and is shopping in advance because as the days to the festival approach, they will not be able to set foot in the market. This is the main reason why other families are also shopping ahead of time and the crowd is only going to increase,” she says.
In addition to the typical store proprietors, there were several small, improvised stores in the marketplaces. “After a very long time, the market seems stable so individuals want to capitalise on the situation. I’m not the only one; many others have established little stores where they provide balloons, water guns, and other items,” says Anil, who had put up a tiny stand in the wholesale market.
“This shopping season will be great for us. I spent Rs 10,000 at SadarBazaar to buy colour and even before March officially began, I’m starting to see the effects. I’m hoping to purchase additional materials in addition to my tiny packets of colours that I sell for Rs 10 to 50. In this area, a lot of college students and working professionals will come and buy in small quantities in the next few days, which will benefit us,” he adds.
Not same everywhere
However, the mood of the traders selling Holi-related items was not upbeat across the National Capital Region.
Nasir, 29, who was selling customised t-shirts, water guns, organic colours, water balloons, and colour pastes in Noida, tells Patriot that sales have been slow so far. “I’ve invested around Rs 15000, and I’ll be more than surprised if I am able to break even.”
According to Nasir, the area around Noida Sector 18 is surrounded by clothing stores, and people come here from all over Delhi and beyond. “I was hoping that my company would do particularly well in the area, but the response has been slow,” he said.
“We’re hoping that as the festival approaches, the market will pick up speed,” Nasir told the Patriot, adding that he brought around a hundred colourful, personalised T-shirts. “I was hoping for a quick sale, but that didn’t happen. I’m trying to sell these items for a pittance now, but the buyers don’t seem interested,” he said. According to Nasir, the only items that are selling well are water pistols and small organic colour pouches.