Diwali frenzy reaches fever pitch
Mumbai: A day after Mumbaikars thronged the gold shops and markets on the occasion of Dhanteras, the first day of Diwali celebrations on Monday, festive preparations for today went into a tizzy.
Last-minute shoppers for clothes, sweets, gifts and, most importantly, firecrackers left no space to walk on the streets or shops as traffic crawled all over the city's roads.
Prices of firecrackers have gone up considerably and bursting of noiseless crackers is being constantly emphasised.
Both environmentalists and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan urged citizens to cut down on noise pollution by not burning loud crackers. In the Diwali message, Chavan said, "Diwali is a festival of lights that brings happiness into our lives. This is also a time to protect and free our environment from pollution."
However, for long-established dealers like Essabhai Fireworks in Mohammad Ali Road it was the usual roaring Diwali business as sales touched a new peak.
The customer rush was so heavy that a separate counter has been set up for ladies this time. With the 10pm noise deadline, colourful and soundless fireworks are in high demand, say the owners.
Changes in people's buying patterns are coming in gradually as the cheaper silver metal in comparison to gold became the favoured buy on Dhanteras.
Even in the case of the traditional Diwali ‘mithai' or sweet, chocolates have come into fashion due to children opting for the varieties of products in the markets. One shopkeeper in suburban Chembur remarked how people tended to go for colourful hampers with varieties of Indian as well as foreign-made chocolates. With news reports indicating how Indian sweets are being adulterated, many consumers are reluctant to buy them.
Meanwhile, with today being a significant day for the trading community, a special ‘muhurat' trading session on Diwali will be held in the evening in the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange. Traders will make token purchases as this day is considered auspicious by Hindu traders who will perform a simple ritual for Laxmi, the Hindu deity symbolising wealth and prosperity.