Wayside vendors have a field day; ‘sadya’ bookings full in many hotels

On Uthradom day, the pavements on both sides of the Fort area were occupied by clothes and vegetable vendors.

But Mani, a clothes seller from Nagercoil, who could not get even an inch of vending space, converted the situation to his advantage. With his entire collection clipped to his shirt, he was seen walking around in search of the next customer.

“I have done business in this area many times in the past years. Though I am not a regular visitor during Onam, I have enjoyed each session. The lack of space and the rush is a problem. But then, business is good,” says Mr. Mani.

The economy might be on a downward spiral, the fuel prices might be skyrocketing, but there was no let-up on ‘Uthradappaachil,’ the shopping spree on Uthradom day.

Though major textile shops and supermarkets were crowded, business on pavements outshone them all. But the number of vendors has been less compared to the previous years.

“During Onam season last year, almost 2,000 temporary licences were given to wayside vendors from other States. But some of them, like a group from Andhra Pradesh, were allocated space in places like Eenchakkal, which is a bit away from the city centre. So, many have not come back this year. This time, most vendors are from Madurai,” says C. Sadashivan Nair, district committee president of the Kerala Street Vendors’ Forum.

The shops selling plantain leaves also witnessed the ‘peak day’ of the year. “This is one day for which any amount of preparation seems inadequate when the actual business begins. Every year, we end up stocking short,” says Ganesh.

Bookings are full for ‘Onasadya’ on Thiruvonam Day at many hotels in the city.

“The number of enquiries has not surged much compared to the previous years. But we restrict the number of bookings so as to give a proper service,” says the manager of a city hotel.

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