A fortnight before Deepavali when most of us are busy shopping for clothes and crackers, a small group of people are on their toes trying to make most of the available time. Working overtime and employing more workers they try to meet deadlines. These small-time caterers take up heavy orders for sweets and savouries from corporates, orphanages, social service organisations and households too. Many of them close down their daily business of running a canteen or preparing regular lunch or dinner. They gear up to make home-made delicacies.

“We are most sought after as the dishes are as good as home-made,” says Kala, who assists her husband to run Anandan Catering at Abraham Street, Mylapore. The couple have been in this business for nearly 25 years and their speciality is jangri (Rs. 300 a kilo) and badusha (Rs. 280 a kilo).

N.S. Anandan, (91763 43079) and Kala make all kinds of sweets and savouries. Their ladoos and chocolate cake are priced at Rs. 300, mysore pak and Mohandal at Rs. 280. Wheat halwa (Rs. 350), badam halwa (Rs. 650), cashew cake (Rs. 500), Soan papdi and coconut burfi (Rs. 300) are also available. They also have a special assorted pack (Rs.300). Savories such as mixture, ribbon pakoda and others can be bought at Rs. 250 a kilo. Mr. Anandan can be contacted at 2464 3251/ 2493 3301.

Those looking for special mixture variety this festival can contact Hariharan at 94444 34269/ 3200 0423. He also prepares other sweets and savouries. All items are priced at Rs. 350 a kg. Door-delivery will be done within 10 km of Mylapore. Orders can be placed till November 12. Hariharan, who has taken over the reins from his father Raju Iyer, a resident of Adam Street, promises quality bakshanam at reasonable cost.

Savouries are Jayanthi’s speciality. People seek her out for Kai murukku and thattai (Rs. 250 a kilo). She prepares Bournvita Cake for Deepavali and it is priced at Rs. 400 a kilo. Those interested can call her at 90945 06828 / 2267 0317. “People should place orders immediately, for I need time for preparation,” says Jayanthi. One needs to pick up the goodies from her home at Nanganallur as she does not deliver them.

Along with running her day-to-day catering service, Jayashree Ramadasan of Jafferkhanpet, K.K. Nagar, plunged into the sweet and savoury making business a year ago. “I make everything from mixture to ribbon pakoda, from rava sweets to ladoos and badusha. Savouries are priced approximately at Rs. 260 per kg and sweets are charged per piece.” People should place orders three-days in advance for the festive season. She delivers to customers in West Mambalam, K.K. Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Vadapalani and Valasaravakkam. Jayashree can be contacted at 97898 70403.

Sri Krishna Catering Service offers a palatable combo this Deepavali. The variety ranges from Mysorepak, badhusha, jangree, wheat halwa, sonpapdi to special mixture, karaboondhi and karasev at an affordable price. Deepavali lehyam will be available for Rs. 50/60 for half kg pack. For orders contact Krishnan at 98401 57902/96770 59012/98408 61644.

“I have given up making sweets and instead started taking orders for full meals,” says Mangalam (94449 14232). She feels that many families want to relax and spend time together especially if it is ‘thalai Deepavali.’ Priced at Rs. 250 per meal, she takes orders a week before the festival.

R. Kannan (94453 44367), 43/13, Canal Bank Road, R.A. Puram, of Annai Saradambal Caterers, also that there is a greater demand for food than sweets. “People want to relax on a festival day and there are some families which have get-togethers. We are here to help such families,” he says. He charges Rs. 200 for a meal and takes orders for a minimum of 30 persons.

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