Diwali may not be a big festival for Malayalis.

But the festival is fast assuming parity with the local festival Vishu at least for those dealing in firecrackers.

Earlier, they used to do their best business during Vishu.

“But now there is no much difference between the sales during Vishu and Diwali, which is big in North India.

Earlier, only upper class North Indian families used to live and settle down in the city. That profile had changed over the years with the influx of migrant labourers, said Shihab Saleem, proprietor of a Kaloor-based firecracker outlet.

Unlike Malayalis who never splurge on crackers, North Indian communities are lavish in displaying the festive spirit and buying crackers. “North Indians spend at least Rs. 2000 as they gift firecrackers to friends, relatives and even staff members in their firms.

Crackers that blast in the air, weaving numerous patterns in multiple colours, and that goes up with music are the most sought after items in the market, which is dominated by Chinese products. About 90 per cent of the items are Chinese.

Price ranges between Rs. 100 to Rs. 10,000 a piece. The latter is an item which forms thousand or more formations in the air in multi-colour on a single shot.

Another new entrant in the market is a shell-like item which comes along with a special glass to watch the different patterns and colours it weaves in the air once fired. It costs more than Rs. 1,000. While a specific pattern can be viewed by naked eyes, the more intricate patterns can be watched only using the special specs, claimed Siju John who runs a cracker shop at Ponnurunni.

He said sales were increasing by the year with the growing North Indian population in the city.

Sweets are another much sought after commodity during Diwali. Kishore Mithaiwala, who has been operating a sweets shop on T.D. Road for the last one decade, said sales doubles during Diwali in comparison to normal days.

He makes the products on his own and stocks enough to meet the increased demand. “Rich items like milk-based and cashew-based items are most in demand during the festival season. I have 20 different varieties of barfi to offer (a confectionary made out of condensed milk and sugar) just for this season. Regular items like laddoos and jilabis will hardly have any takers during these days,” Mr. Kishore said.

Though Malayalis observe Diwali on Saturday, it is observed on Sunday by the North Indian community. He, therefore, expects the sales to pick up from Wednesday onwards.

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