Fest lull has valley by short hairs

KATHMANDU: Kathmandu markets witnessed a sea change between the pre-Dashain and post-Dashain period. Not only are the shopping malls that were crowded pre-Dashain yet to open but petty shops and pavement markets also are shut. People said there is a complete halt to economic activities post-Dashain. It will take another couple of days for the market to become normal.

Closed shutters and

empty streets are a reminder that the festive season has had its effect on people in the

valley. The usual bumper to bumper traffic and customary people walking on the streets to reach work is non-existant, with most shops and offices closed for the holidays.

This is a time in the year where all inhabitants take time off from their daily routine and go merrymaking. This year it was to such an extent that there occurred an acute shortage of cash in the country, with everyone withdrawing astounding amounts of money. Many banks had to close their ATM’s while most of them allowed limited withdrawal.

Many shopkeepers this year felt like it was just not like Dashain every year, claiming that Dashain shoppers this year weren’t quite in the mood to shop and also that pre-Dashain shopping wasn’t the same as it used to be in the previous years.

The day before Dashain tika — which is the main day — was a day when supermarkets were filled with shoppers, all in a flurry for last-minute shopping mainly for food. Stores ran out of curd, milk and other essential products. That was one day that shopkeepers witnessed the hustle-bustle and festive mood that marks the festival.

However, the valley saw negligible economic activities during these four days until today. Today also was a relatively mundane day for valley dwellers as not many shops and eateries opened.

“It is due to absence of the people from the districts who are engaged in business and economic activities,” said Suman Parajuli, a permanent resident of Kathmandu.

“The small of valley folk who are involved in business and other economic activities are also busy merry-making instead of conducting business as usual,” he added.

Only a few taxis plied on the roads and it was quite difficult to find those going the distanmce according to their meters. Most drivers quoted exorbitant rates even for short distances.

Till today, everyone seems relaxed and in a mood to

continue celebrating the festival. Even the majority of

people who need to work daily to earn their living are taking time off before getting back into the rut of daily life.