Beggars encash Christmas spirit, sell merchandise at light points and local markets in Ludhiana | punjab$ludhiana | Hindustan Times
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Beggars encash Christmas spirit, sell merchandise at light points and local markets in Ludhiana

punjab Updated: Dec 24, 2016 14:22 IST
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu

A child selling a Santa mask at Bharat Nagar Chowk in Ludhiana on Friday. (Jagtinder Singh Grewal/HT Photo)

As the spirit of Christmas catches on here, there has been a rise in the number of underprivileged people, especially kids, who are enchasing on the celebrations. They are leaving no stone unturned to sell ‘Santa caps’ and other Christmas merchandise at almost every traffic light and have even made their way to local markets.

With each passing year, the number of people, selling caps and masks during this time of the year, continues to swell. “This year, it seems as if every beggar is involved in this Christmas sale. Their marketing skills are worth noticing. Last year, one would spot them selling these caps and masks only at some points but this year, they are just everywhere,” said Swaranjit Singh, a Punjab Agricultural University student.

Speaking on similar lines, another localite, Swaran Singh adds, “Considering their passion to sell even in the wee hours at traffic points and stay till late in the night, I am sure each one of them must be making good amount. Surely, next year their number will rise.”

“Rather than heading to expensive Christmas decoration shops, we must buy Christmas products from the underprivileged people at traffic lights. Throughout the year, we see them begging but during Christmas, it is inspiring to see them making an effort,” said Bhavna Singh from BRS Nagar.

However, the one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is their target customers — children. The moment they spot kids, they rush towards them and dole out best deals. Another interesting feature of this Christmas sale is the difference in the prices of the things being sold. The cost of the items can be anywhere between ₹20 to ₹100. “We quote different rates depending upon the luxury level of the car,” says one of the sellers.

“Every year, this festival is a hope since many children buy caps and masks from us. Some parents don’t even bargain and pay whatever amount is quoted. We earn good profit”, said a middle-aged person, selling Santa caps at a traffic light here.

Another person, who did not wish to be named, was accompanied by his children for selling. He said, “We are selling them for the first time. Since last few days, we have been going to different traffic intersections and local markets of the city. We decided to follow others, to make money.” However, he added that he had no clue about the significance of the festival. The story was no different with majority of the other beggars.

In local markets, especially where Christmas decorations are sold such as Sarabha Nagar, shopkeepers are seen asking the underprivileged sellers to stay away from their shops. They allege that their ‘sales suffer’ due to their presence.