Julia Roberts’ much-hyped movie, Eat Pray Love, may have fallen flat at the box office, but it seems Delhi is all set to live out the title of the film this weekend. Thanks to the Commonwealth Games, today has been declared a public holiday by the Delhi Government, which, when clubbed with the coming days, means an extended opportunity for festive eating, praying and loving.
Today onwards, Delhi will be busy celebrating Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, Maha Ashtami and Dussehra, none of which can happen without festive food and sweets. The catering business and sweets sellers in the city have already recorded a 60% increase in sales, and the figures are only going up. From Navratri special food stalls and dandiya nights to Durga puja pandals, all festive hotspots are brimming with busy food stalls. “Dandiya performances and Durga Puja go on all night. People come in groups and gorge on the good stuff. There’s also a rise in bulk orders, leading to a 70% increase in the business,” says Vijay Paul of Professional Caterers.
Visiting the gods
“We get a floating crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 to our Durga Puja Pandal,” says Arun Dey, joint secretary, Dwarka Kali Bari. From regular temple visits for Navratri offerings to prayers at Durga Puja and Ram Lila performances, the city’s festive fervour is at its highest. “We get a daily footfall of around 10,000. The figure is higher this time as schools and offices are closed due to CWG,” says Arjun Kumar of Lav Kush Ramlila.
Love is in the air, as youngsters dress up for the Dandiya Raas. Parents, meanwhile, get busy with matchmaking. “It happens a lot. Families get their grown-up kids to meet prospective partners from their own community,” says Tapan Karmakar of Race Course Durga Puja pandal. “Dandiya is the right time to check out some nice guys,” says Priya Verma, a 23-year-old from GK-II.