By Swatee jog
The great Diwali weekend is here. The front pages of the newspapers, all the TV channels, FM channels, handbill insertions in dailies, hoardings, SMSes, all have pursued you like the much coveted suitor, just for this weekend when you will make the decisive purchases for Diwali. Indians across the world celebrate this festival of joys with much fervor. Lights, food, and shopping forms an integral part of Diwali. My God! Belagavi people venture out in hordes days ahead. The womenfolk is much concerned about turning out the right kind of crunchy chaklis, shankarpalis, anarsa, chirota, kost of which contain the key ingredients- oil, maida, sugar, ghee and besan. So their first task is to look around for the best (and easiest) recipe that guarantees the right texture and crunch. Konwal galli has the best rava pithi, Kawilkars sell the crunchiest poha and such news is quickly passed around. The flour mills are working overtime and streets are turning into dreamy lanes awash with smells of freshly fried chaklis and boiling butter on its way to becoming ghee.
Last week saw the city’s crowds happily returning home carrying bags of clothes. The city’s epicenter for clothes has somewhat tilted towards the civil hospital road, with outlets like Biba, Soch, Inmark, Megamart, Blackberrey’s, Allen Solly, Park Avenue, Global Desi, Van Heusen opening shops. Some shops are reminiscent of the Greek facades and almost all of them offer a rare luxury- parking space. Parking your vehicle on Khade Bazar or Ramdev Galli is like getting a 3 BHK on Karve Road!!! I am always amused to see that shops selling related items like sheets, pillows, footwear, bangles, bags and purses, lingerie, paints, etc. also do brisk business during this season. Anyway, of late, all that the people of Belagavi have had in terms of sustained entertainment is the pursuit of shopping. With no proper art gallery, zoo, a massive water body or large parks to stroll, Belagavi folks venture out to visit exhibitions ( and spend), go shopping (spend some more), or visit the Big Bazar and Nucleus Mall ( to spend, what else) to while their time in the evenings and weekends. So they are well versed with the whereabouts to an extent that they can consult others about best deals.
Have a look at the colorful tiny kids’ ghagras being sold on Maruti Galli and at Kirloskar Road. Colorful terracotta lamps, packets of rangoli, lanterns, artificial flowers, imitation jewelry and knick knacks are being sold everywhere, bringing on the festive spirit. The vegetable market may be flaunting just the brinjals and beans but the fruit market is teeming with lots of Indian apples and oranges.
The city’s tailors are laughing their way to the banks. All the roads in the city are leading towards the city center. Hotels are feeding the shopping fatigued. Even the odd juice vendor is extremely busy. Any exhibition is greeted with delight and shops, big and small are bursting at the seams with goods and customers. The traffic policeman is having aching hands while the electricity man is worrying for the endless supply.
Colors everywhere, smiles and hopes floating in the air.
Let the city prosper, may its folk make merry all through the year.
Belagavi is emptying its pockets to fill its heart! It smells Diwali, isn’t it?