Incessant rain fizzles Bengaluru’s Diwali cracker sales

Bengaluru, Nov 10 (IANS) Incessant rain since Monday is threatening to wash out Diwali festivities in Bengaluru, and the prevailing inclement weather has left many fire-cracker sellers crestfallen.

“We are not even seeing 25 percent business compared to last year. Non-stop rain has destroyed crackers sales this year,” said Raju, a farmer who has been part-time selling crackers for Diwali the past four years.

“We are at least attempting to get back the investment we made in crackers business for Diwali. I am worried whether I will get back my money I invested in this busiess,” added Raju.

“Rain is a natural phenomenon, nobody is responsible for it, we can’t blame anyone,” said Raju, expressing his helplessness.

Gaurav Kapoor, an employee of software company SAP, who visited a crackers stall on Sarjapura road, said: “Not everyone has a car to escape rain to some extent and come and buy crackers.”

“Of the 10-12 people in the shop right now, seven are our customer facilitators. Rain has ruined our business. I am not sure if I will be able to sell all the crackers I brought for selling,” added Krishna Murthy, another vendor.

Murthy is hoping that there are people who keep buying and bursting crackers one or two days after Diwali. They might come to the vendors’ rescue.

N. Venkatesh, another crackers vendor, feels that customers would love to come if the weather was good.

“As the climate has become cold due to incessant rain, people are not showing much interest. They are just glancing from afar and leaving,” said Venkatesh. He laid cement bricks so customers do not to soil their footwear or feet in rain water and mud when they visit his shop.

Selling crackers is not the mainstream business for most vendors who sell crackers around Diwali. Almost all of them take it up right before the festival to make a quick buck.

Raju is selling crackers from the Standard brands at 75 percent discount, and other brands including Supreme, Vasantha, Popular and Tower at 90 percent discount.

A very noticeable feature of every Diwali is the sale of crackers at high double-digit discounts.

“I have just come to check out crackers here, I am still dilly-dallying whether to buy here or go to Hosur. Crackers are cheaper in Hosur than here, most of the sellers bring crackers from Hosur,” said IT employee Anil Kumar.

But a few crackers sellers are also complaining against the media and holding it somewhat responsible for the lacklustre sales this year.

C. Ravinda, a crackers vendor since 1995, said: “The media is highlighting that Diwali, which comes for one day in a year, contributes to pollution, then what about all those factories across the country billowing smoke every day of the year?”

With high possibility of many cracker inventories remaining unsold, observant customers at crackers stalls have highlighted that some vendors mix last year’s leftovers and sell them this year.

But Murthy, a real estate worker who also doubles up as a crackers vendor, has a different take. “We burst the leftover crackers for elections, political functions and rallies.”

With one more day to go, vendors and customers are hoping for some respite from rain so they can enjoy the festival with its bright lights and flashing fireworks.

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