City cuts down on Diwali spending | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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City cuts down on Diwali spending

From gold and travel plans to firecrackers and sweets, Mumbaiites scale down expenditure to deal with inflationary prices, Mugdha Variyar reports.

mumbai Updated: Nov 04, 2012 01:11 IST
Mugdha Variyar

Every year during Diwali, the Bhatia family would buy a gold or silver coin on the occasion of Dhanteras.

However, inflation has scaled down their celebrations this year. "We have decided to make do with some steel ware instead, as gold has become extremely expensive," said Chanchal Bhatia, a marketing professional.

At the Kale residence in Goregaon's Siddharth Nagar, celebrations will be on a much smaller level than last Diwali.

"Last year, we had spent close to Rs. 3,500 on firecrackers. This time, even after reducing the quantity by half, we still spent about Rs. 2,500 to get firecrackers for the children," said Asha Kale, a homemaker.

"We have also had to cut down on preparations of faraal and sweets this time, since we don't want to use up too much cooking gas, with the prices increasing frequently," said Kale.

Unlike last year's Diwali where the family enjoyed varieties of ladoos and chivdas, the festival menu will not be as elaborate this year.

The high prices of goods have also spoiled the Parabs' Diwali celebration. "We usually prepare faraal that lasts the family about four days, but this time, I am not sure if we will make enough to make it last even for a day," said Rohini Parab, who lives in a ten-member joint family in Dadar.

"We had to increase prices of sweets and faraal at our shop by about 20%," said Sanjiv Panshikar, owner of Panshikar sweets in Dadar. "But since it is Diwali, people are willing to spend money, and our sales are more from last year's by about 40%."

Cost of firecrackers has also risen for this Diwali and many sellers are complaining of low sales.

"Sales are picking up much slower compared to last year," said the owner of Essabhai Crackers at Crawford Market. "The prices have gone up by 15%, and people are sure to cut down on buying crackers at this rate."

The soaring air fares have compelled many families to abandon their travel plans during the festival season.

"Diwali is usually a vacation time for the family, as the children have holidays. But this year, we have cancelled our plans to go with on a holiday like we usually do. The air tickets are very expensive," said Bhatia, who had made a family trip to North India last Diwali.

"Given the exorbitant increase in air fares, there has been a drop of about 20% in air travel within the country this Diwali though this is the time when most families like to plan holidays," said Iqbal Mulla, president, Travel Agents' Association of India.

Case Study
'I saved a lot of money by designing my own saree'
Karishma Dalal, 30, hair and makeup artist

Last Diwali, I made my own sari using four different borders cut out from my mother's old saris. I bought a ready-made, plain sari without borders or embroidery from a sari shop in Cambala Hills for Rs. 2,500.

It was made of gaji silk, which gives a rich look but is not too expensive. I also picked out my own blouse material from Vandana at Chandra Lok, Napean Sea Road, for Rs. 200.

After placing the orange, green, gold and maroon borders against the sari, I visualised the placement and gave the separate pieces, with my specific placement instructions, to a local tailor, who charged me Rs. 1,500 for the stitching.

So my entire outfit cost me just over Rs. 4,000, which is great compared to buying a ready-made silk, embroidered sari, which starts from Rs. 15,000.

Even if you have to buy your own borders, it should not cost you more than Rs. 3,000 for three different borders."