Summer showers fail to dampen the festive mood of residents
Having been caught up in the election frenzy so far, the festival of Vishu finally got its share of attention from the city folks with big throngs overwhelming the city streets and city markets on Monday.
Even the summer showers that lashed the city in the afternoon failed to dampen the fervour of Kochiites on the festival eve as they began shopping from the morning itself. The busy Broadway market in the city started off on a slow pace but picked up momentum by afternoon.
Textile shops and jewellery outlets also recorded good business. Many purchased new clothes on the eve of Vishu. Gold coins, which are often gifted as “Vishukani,” were in good demand at jewellery outlets.
Meanwhile, several loads of vegetables had found a place in various shops across the city two days before the festival and vendors were finding it hard to meet the demand. While vegetables and fruits were available in plenty, ‘Kanikonna’ was in short supply in most parts of the city.
Interestingly, those who visited vegetable markets on Monday were in for a surprise, as prices had come down to almost normal. Kani vellari, golden cucumber that is an indispensable part of the ‘Vishu Kani’, was sold at a price between Rs.25 and Rs.30 a piece depending on the vendor.
“Last year in the same season, cucumber was priced at Rs. 56 in the retail market. However, surplus production of the vegetable in different parts of the State has led to a sharp reduction in the wholesale and retail prices’’, said K.K. Saji, a wholesale vegetable vendor at the Nettoor international vegetable market.
The most spectacular change has been seen in the case of ginger, which was selling at Rs. 160 a kg in the retail market. This is an appreciation of more than 60 per cent over January this year. The price rise has been attributed to the reduction in ginger supplies that are mainly sourced from Kodagu in Karnataka. However, a couple of traditional vegetables such as long beans and ladies finger, sold at Rs.100 and Rs.48 respectively, went north on the festival eve.
The nendran variety of bananas, the price of which has held firm over the past three months, was selling at Rs. 40 a kg in the retail market here.
The prices of other items like carrot, beetroot, cabbage, big onions, potatoes, tomatoes and ladies finger saw only marginal variations during the day.
With nuclear families celebrating the festival in their individual homes, a lot has changed in the manner Vishu is celebrated in the city. The only tradition that continues is the Vishukkani – an assortment of golden coloured vegetables, fruits and grain in a bronze vessel, along with a gold ornament, new golden-zari mundu and Kanikkonna flowers.
The catering units in the city also witnessed a heavy rush with a large number of city residents choosing to relish the delicacies of a ‘readymade sadya’.