This Independence Day, Covid19 cuts kite sales
Independence Day is synonymous with kite flying. Pockets of Old Delhi, north and north-east Delhi, especially, hold the title for most kite-flying competitions around this time of the year. Colourful kites dominate the city’s skies, with children and adults participating with gusto. Even if a person is not flying a kite, you can find them cheering from their balconies, turning the entire activity into a community festival of sorts. But this time, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, people are being extra careful, limiting their enthusiasm. This has impacted sales of kites and the wholesalers of Lal Kuan, Old Delhi have seen a slump in the number of people visiting their shops.
“Lockdown ka asar toh hua hai. Sales are down and we are not even able to pay our workers. Payments kahaan se ayengi? Log corona se toh ubhre pehle (Where will we get our payments from when people are still struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic),” rues Altaf Qureshi of Kallu Bhai Patang Wale.
Adding to this, Imran of Shabbir Bhai Patang Wale says, “The demand has gone down this year. Earlier, we would get about 30 people at our shop, but now it has gone down to 10-15 people.”
The otherwise bustling lanes of Lal Kuan Bazaar are devoid of cheer. Eager kite flyers would fight motorists and fruit vendors for space, and then make a dash to catch a kati patang to claim victory. “Kites with tiranga and PUBG are still popular, but you will hardly find anyone on the streets. Puraana vala mahaul nahi hai. People are confined to their homes and flying kites from their roofs,” says Ahmed from Haji Kite House. A new kite design — a ghost on a white background — is something that has attracted people this year. “Log issi ko corona kite keh rahe hain,” shares Bablu of Bishan Chand & Sons Kite Merchants.
State-wise lockdown guidelines have also impacted the import of raw material, as most of these kite wholesalers would buy material from neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. “Demand toh hai logo mein, par maal taiyyar ho ke nahi aa raha. We would source from Rampur, Bareilly, Japiur and Kolkata, but it has been very difficult this time,” says Bablu. Many craftsmen, or kaarigars, had gone on leaves for the festivals of Raksha Bandhan and Eid, further slowing down the production.
The wholesalers would get enquiries for bulk orders from across the country, but retail sales were also a big source of income. “The metro made it easy for people to come to us. But now that the metro services are suspended, we are not getting many customers. It’s a huge loss,” says Sachin Gupta of Sachin Kite Centre.
Interact with Etti Bali @TheBalinian
Follow @htcity for more