Round-the-clock preparations in bihutolis, bihu workshops and homes to welcome Bohaag
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, April 12: Rongali Bihu is but a day away and people all over Assam are gearing up to celebrate the festival of Spring. Hectic preparations are on to spruce up residences, prepare Bihu delicacies and buy bihuwans, clothes and other gifts to greet respected elders as well as near and dear ones.
Markets in the towns are teeming with people going Bihu shopping. Thousands of people from rural and suburban areas are also visiting markets, small shops and shopping malls in nearby towns and in the city. Prices of indigenously made garments and food items are skyrocketing as traders cash in on the Bihu euphoria.
In the city markets, prices of one gamosa vary from Rs 50 to Rs 500, prices of traditiol muga clothes made in Sualkuchi vary from Rs 15,000 to Rs 22,000, prices of two varieties of pat with sutar phool and gur phool vary from Rs 4,000-Rs 8,000 to Rs 6,000-Rs 15,000, a single pat mekhela costs Rs 850 to Rs 1,500, single muga mekhela costs Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000, a set of hand woven cotton mekhela chador costs Rs 800 to Rs 2,500, kecha pat with sutar phool costs Rs 3,500 to Rs 5,500 and kecha pat with gur phool costs Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000.
In this Rongali Bihu, demand for clothes with contrast design has increased manifold. The prices of contrast design clothes varies from Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000.
Sources said riha made in Sualkuchi has a huge demand in the market but the product is not currently available. Sualkuchi made riha costs Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per piece. “Riha made in gaon, Dhokuakho and Dhemaji are now selling well in the markets. These cost Rs 2,000 and above,” sources said.
Asom Samabay Resham Pratisthan’s mager ba Baishya said, “We don’t keep powerloom gamosas. We sell only hand-woven gamosas which have very high demand in the market.” Baishya Silkalay proprietor Mohan Baishya said, “Contrast designs have become very popular in this Bihu season.”
Meanwhile local traders complained that the State government has failed to prevent the flow of cheap machine-made silk garments from Baras, Cheni and other parts of the country into Assam and this is adversely affecting their business.
Meanwhile, prices of special food items are zooming up this Bihu season. “Curd and cream made in Sarbhog cost Rs 200 and Rs 600 per litre respectively. Curd and cream made in Hajo’s Ramdiya cost Rs 130 and Rs 400 per litre respectively,” sources said, adding, “Items like gur and chira are selling at Rs 100 per kg and Rs 80-100 per kg respectively.”
A packet containing 10 pieces of pitha costs Rs 50, a packet containing 10 pieces of coconut laru costs Rs 50 and a packet containing 10 pieces of gurar laru costs Rs 30.
Music stores are being besieged by customers young and old, demanding a bewildering array of Bihu CDs. Aspiring musicians are hunting for musical instruments, both traditiol Bihu like dhol-pepa and modern like digital synthesizers, guitars and drumsets, in specialized music shops. Children of different age groups are participating in Bihu workshops offering training in Bihu dance.
People of all ages are getting ready to actively participate in the weeklong Bihu celebrations, with teams of husori dancers rehearsing late into the night in villages and towns. In urban areas though, it is the Bihu functions on stage that draw in the crowds. In the bihutolis of Guwahati and other major towns, organizers are working round the clock to give fil touches to the stage and surrounding complex, traders are busily setting up stalls and advertisers placing huge banners and hoardings on strategic locations. TV channels too are fine-tuning preparations to set up cameras on bihutolis to capture the Bihu action live and telecast it to every home as the State comes to a near standstill.
The New Year calendar of the Assamese people begins with Rongali Bihu.
For the people of Assam, Bihu is not just a seasol festival or an event. It is a statement of life, an expression of the charm and the philosophy of living unique to this region. Along with these celebrations, various economic activities, trade and commerce too get a boost throughout the region.