For good or for worse, times have definitely changed. This year, packets of pulses have found a place along with traditional dry fruit plates for sale as gift on the auspicious occasion of Diwali in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul.
“It started as a joke but people liked the idea and we received some queries. Thereafter we decided to launch the dal gift pack much in the same way as dry fruits. Maybe people are taking out their anger over soaring prices of dal by doing this but they are buying these gift packs,” said Rajesh Khurana, a trader who translated this idea into a business practice this year.
Khurana, who has sold about 15 packets of pulses in the last four days since he introduced these ‘gift packs’ at his shop, also said the idea of gifting pulses would help them give a boost at a time when people have cut down on their consumption due to steep hike in pulses prices.
“Dry fruit gift pack on Deepawali has been in vogue for ages. We thought dal is expensive this season. If it is sold in the same way as dry fruit, it would attract buyers and our assumption was right.”
Five varieties of pulses have been gift-packed in the same way as dry fruits are traditionally done on Diwali and priced between `100 to `400 as compared to dry fruit plates beginning in the range of Rs 250 onwards.
The cheapest pack weighing 800 gm is being sold for Rs 100, a 1.2 kg pack for Rs 150 and the most expensive pack is for Rs 400. On the other hand, the cheapest dry fruit plate is being sold at Rs 250 and goes up to any cost depending on the weight.
Some traders are also giving a 100-gram pack of tur dal free on purchase of big dry fruit plates. They claim the idea of gift-packing pulses is being appreciated by buyers.
Sonu Saluja, a buyer who bought a gift pack of pulses, said, “This year, I have got married and I am buying this gift for my wife and she would be happy.”
Varsha Dhote, another buyer, said, “Dal is not cooked daily in our house now. I wish to give it to my mother so that for some days, she would not vent her anger over dal vanishing from her plate of food.”
GR Mane, assistant professor of commerce at Betul’s JH College, said that income of the poor and the middle class have been almost constant for the past several years while the price of pulses has shot up four times this year.
“People have reduced pulses intake and are consuming vegetables more now. This will result in vegetables getting costlier in the coming days. Hence, such gift packs would definitely send a message to the government that some measures are required to be taken,” Mane said.