The last time Dilish Parekh, owner of Jay Jewellers, saw the streets of Zaveri Bazaar crowded, was on the day of the July 13 blasts. On Monday, for the first time in three months, Parekh saw the place back in its bustling form on the occasion of Dhanteras.
“Over the past three months, business dipped by more than 25% owing to the stringent security measures enforced by the police post the blasts. However, this year’s Dhanteras saw a greater turnout of buyers — a 10% rise compared to last year,” said Parekh.
The new security measures have turned the entire area into a no-parking and no-hawking zone. The July blasts weren’t the first in the area. “After the August 2003 blasts, business was restored within three days. But this year, it has taken more than three months for business to get back to normal,” added Parekh.
“Since the past week, we have been seeing a good turnout because of the festival and the upcoming wedding season.
We are hoping that Dhanteras marks the beginning of a more prosperous year,” said Deepak Tulsiani, owner, Dwarkadas Chandumal Jewellers.
Considered to be an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar to buy precious metal, Dhanteras, marks the first day of the Diwali celebrations. The streets of Zaveri Bazaar, which is the hub of diamond and gold merchants, were crowded from 3pm to 9pm on Monday, which was considered to be the ‘shubh muhurat’ to purchase precious metal.
Sangli resident Sangeeta Mhatre, 46, stood in a queue for an hour waiting for the Narrondas Manordas, a 220-year-old gold showroom in Zaveri Bazaar, to open.
Buying silver from the showroom every Dhanteras is a family ritual for Mhatre. “I came to the city in the morning and will head back home in the evening, carrying Goddess Lakshmi in my purse,” said Mhatre, who bought three silver coins and a 100gm bar of silver from the showroom.
“Last year, my son scored a distinction in his exam after we took home the silver coin. Purchasing silver on Dhanteras brings home luck and prosperity,” she added.
At the Narrondas Manordas showroom, gold and silver are sold at a rate higher than the market price. “There is a lot of goodwill attached to the shop. Compared to last year, there were more than 200 buyers this year,” said Anshul Sonawala, owner of the showroom.