Dashain shopping amidst fuel crisis
New clothes take a back seat as people invest this Dashain in pressure and rice cookers keeping in mind the acute fuel shortage, while many are opting for wood chulhos as alternatives to LPG stoves. Cyclists have gone up in numbers on the Capital’s roads with ‘no petrol’ affecting the number of vehicles that can ply. Yet our youngsters look forward to flying kites, a quintessential Dashain ritual
Dashain is here but the question that remains on our minds this year is — how do we celebrate it? Will our cylinders of LPG get us through all the feasting that symbolises this festival? How do we visit our elders and relatives to receive tika? Will we even be able to go home (if we are from outside the Valley)?
The fuel crisis has become a big dampener this festival season.
With commuting having become difficult — people travelling in over-crowded public vehicles and even on the roofs of those — Dashain shopping has become not a joyful exercise, but something that has made one and all tired. Some people can be seen walking carrying bags stuffed with goods as there is no space in vehicles. “That is people are not coming to the market these days. There is even no supply as per the demand. Business has drastically gone down,” said Bhim Shrestha, proprietor of Stainless Steel, Ason.
Though the Capital’s markets are not empty, the swarms of shoppers usually associated with this season are not to be seen. However, people are still hopeful that things will change for the better any day soon and are seen getting ‘kind-of’ for the upcoming festival.
Priority: Pressure/rice cooker
Keeping the fuel shortage in mind and people as far as two weeks ago opting to cook just once a day, this year people are seen buying pressure cookers and rice cookers. A smart and needed choice keeping the situation in mind, indeed.
People have turned to rice cookers to cook rice. But with load-shedding still, though erratically, following its scheduled timings, it still is not the number one option for people. However, the one utensil that people are picking up these days is the humble pressure cooker.
Goma Dahal, 52, a resident of Ramkot, bought a pressure cooker and rice cooker each. “I am not buying this item targeting the festival but as there is a lack of LPG cylinders in the market, I must save the gas I am using now. These two utensils will help me save gas,” shared Dahal.
With a similar thought Sushila Adhikari, 35, a resident of Chhauni, was in search of a bigger rice cooker than the one she is using at home. “I am planning to buy a rice cooker as I can boil water and cook food in the same utensil. It will be better to invest money in a single item than buy two items — an electric kettle and a rice cooker. A glass filled with pulses too can be adjusted in it during the time of crisis,” she smiled.
Clothes? Let’s think about it
Dashain and new clothes go together. “We generally buy new clothes all around the year but without buying new clothes for Dashain, it does not feel like Dashain,” shared 18-year-old Shikha Shakya of Chabahil. However, the price of clothes has skyrocketed in the market. “The price of goods have increased, so I don’t think I buy many clothes this year. This is why I have included my winter shopping in the same list,” said Priya Khadka, 19, a resident of Chabahil.
Kites and spool
Though kite-flying is a ‘romantic’ notion associated with Dashain in cities with haphazard urbanisation making this pleasure almost impossible, people still do buy kites and spool and fly those wherever and whenever they can.
“We used to run through the rice fields during our childhood to catch a kite but these days you can’t even fly them as they get tangled in the wires and other buildings,” shared 14-year-old Anish Budhathoki of Koteshwor. But the joy of flying kites just cannot be strangled by the wires.
“I am flying kites this year too. I will buy them in Patan — as Patan is renowned for kites,” he affirmed.
Kites made of newspapers are also seen in the sky. “It would be fun to make the kites of newspapers. Paper can be reused and we can save money too. It is fun to make a kite as many people are involved in it. The work is distributed and there is more fun in working as a team. We can also write messages like Mero cheet nahos, mathi udoos on the kite and give different designs, add tails to add to the fun. Kites give a feeling that Dashain has approached,” shared Bibek Raut, 14, a resident of Tinkune.