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Home where the hurt is

Thanks to the meltdown, not many Delhiites will celebrate Diwali the way they did last year. Almost every family has decided to cut out something or Others have slashed their home decoration budgets, writes Naziya Alvi.

delhi Updated: Oct 21, 2008 01:19 IST
Naziya Alvi

After agonising over a small pack of diyas for 20 minutes, school teacher Monisha Khanna declares: “It’s much more expensive than last year.”

Thanks to the meltdown, not many Delhiites will celebrate Diwali the way they did last year. Almost every family has decided to cut out something or the other from the shopping list. Some are not buying new clothes. Others have slashed their home decoration budgets. The sellers, in turn, have cut down on special offers and the much- awaited Diwali bonanzas.

Browsing through a mall, checking out price tags, Khanna tells us her husband Sanjay has also convinced her to postpone buying a new sofa. “He will buy me new sofa covers instead. We are not even painting the house this time,” she adds. As for the washing machine the Khannas had planned to buy — anticipating a free mixer-grinder in the bargain — Sanjay Khanna says it’s postponed till next year.

The Bajaj family from Lajpat Nagar is economising in a less visible manner. “Why announce to the world that we are short of money on Diwali? We will cut down on expenses like crackers for the children, but not on gifts,” says Rajesh Bajaj, a businessman.

Stingy shoppers are bad news for sellers, of course. At Oma, a crystal store in Khan Market, sales are down 70 per cent this year. The store opened last October, in time for Diwali, and did brisk business. Richa Nagrath, who runs the store, says, “Those who bought gifts worth Rs 4000 to 5000 last year are now restricting themselves to Rs 400 to 500.”

The biggest surprise, though, is the reduction in pomp and show during weddings. Manoj Kumar of Paradise Tent House says people are spending 20 to 25 per cent less than last year. Even those who have made bookings at the posh Khan Market want to save on lighting and furniture.

It’s the same story at banquet halls across Delhi. “People are asking for the basic decoration that’s included in our packages. No one is interested in spending extra on hall decoration or extra lighting,” says the owner of a popular banquet hall in Pragati Maidan.

Parents of would-be brides and grooms are pruning guest lists. Charu Sahani, who is getting married on November 28, says, “We do not have an option. Hunting for the venue was such a pain, and we have already stretched our budget to the limit. So, shortening the guest list is the only option.”

Talking of weddings, nothing’s on the ‘house’ this time. “Usually, the female relatives accompanying the bride also get their make-up done from us. But this year, the bookings are strictly for the brides,” says Fatima Bibi, owner of Glitz and Glamour beauty parlour in Dwarka.