Written by Shweta Pakhare | Pune |
Published: November 4, 2018 7:34:26 am
With the festival of lights fast approaching, people are trooping to the streets of Kasba Peth, Kumbharwada. With an endless array of shops lined up on the sides of the street, customers are busy browsing and buying several festive items, including lanterns, diyas, idols, firecrakers and pots, to celebrate Diwali.
Down the road a woman, Asra, paints small pots with deft strokes, dips her brush into the colours and then quickly puts the finished product on display. A riot of colours fill the space adding to the mood of celebrations. This Diwali, shopkeepers and vendors of Kumbarwada are busy attending one customer after another. Some of them had started setting up stalls to sell Diwali paraphernalia right after the Dussehra, following which they did a brisk business.
“We have been running this business for four generations now. Our business is going steady,” says Rajendra Nanda, who, along with his wife, sells earthen forts, small idols and colourful pots. Nanda says the Shivaji Maharaj idol has the highest demand among the customers. Small idols of soldiers and goddesses are also in demand. There are a few shop owners who started their shops only a few years ago, but most of the vendors here have inherited the business from their families.
Asra has been in this business for 45 years. Her daughter says they bring the soil from Baramati for the ‘kundyas’, which they make by themselves. They charge Rs 30 for five kundyas. Prabhakar Shinde, who owns the Shri Sant Gora Kumbhar shop, says sale of Diwali items was less this year, pointing out drought as the reason.
On the contrary, the Gora Kumbhar Makta Bhandar, run by Mahesh Narayan Kumbhar, saw much better sales figures than last year. This could be because of their interesting ‘Kaanch Diye’ that they have managed to sell in heaps. Their own creation, he says, is a glass cover that is put on top of a diya, so that the wind does not blow out the fire. “We are not the manufacturers, we import the products from West Bengal. And nobody here prepares or manufactures this,” he says.
The unique diyas at Santosh Dyaneshwar Kumbhar’s shop are inspired by fish and elephant and also the small pots are the results of his imagination. “My grandmother left me this business. We design and manufacture everything that you see around the shop. Our factory is in Mundhwa and we import the soil from Uttar Pradesh,” he says. Most of the vendors say they have been following the path that their families have tread on and since this is a traditional business, the items are the same as what they were years ago.
For many, Diwali celebrations are synonymous with bursting firecrackers. Though the court has restricted the firework timings from 8 pm to 10 pm, the 37 shops along the DP Road in Shaniwar Peth await customers. Supriya Deshpande at her Chinmay Rajas Phataka Market shop says customers mostly ask for crackers that make less noise. “I only bought sparklers, chakras and snake balls for my children,” says Rachana Gadkari, a customer.