Price rise, rain play dampener to Onam festivities

September 2nd, 2009 - 4:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 2 (IANS) If skyrocketing prices were not enough to dampen the Onam festivities Wednesday, heavy rain lashing Kerala since Tuesday evening also played a spoilsport to the most important festival of the year for the Malayalis.
“The rains have been quite heavy since last night and our customary visit to the temple early morning on Thiru Onam day turned out to be a wet one. The children are upset because their new dresses all got sullied,” said Manju Nair, a housewife.

Malayalis celebrate Thiru Onam in the honour of Mahabali, the mythical king of ancient Kerala who is said to visit his subjects once in a year on this day. Onam is also the official festival of the state.

The rice in prices of essential items has been pinching the wallet of the common man. Even the mandatory banana chips, a must for any Onam meal, is seeing a dip in its popularity.

Joseph Mani, a fruit dealer, is a worried man as he had stocked 600 kg of bananas.

“I am worried as I have managed to sell only around 100 kg. Last Onam, I did not have enough stock. I am going to end up a pauper this Onam. Today morning, I have had frantic calls from vegetable wholesalers from the Kottayam main market that they can provide vegetables at half the price. I replied that I would be grateful if they can take my stock,” Mani said.

Kunjumon, a rubber tapper in Kottayam, said: “It appears buying a kg of chicken is a better option than buying plantains.”

Several hotels in the state are offering the traditional 24-course Onam lunch served on plantain leaves ranging from Rs.90 to Rs.650.

The heavy rain has also affected the hawkers selling a range of things like textiles, traditional utensils and hand made items.

“The rains have really hit us bad. Not only have our sales dropped but the things get damaged. This is not an Onam we wished,” said Murugan, a hawker here.

The Kerala State Beverages Corporation, the sole wholesalers of liquor and beer in the state had record sales of Rs.34 crore Monday. The liquor shops were closed Tuesday — it being the first of the month — and re-opened Wednesday much to the delight of the tipplers.

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