By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, January 13: Magh Bihu is at the doorstep.
Undeterred by soaring prices of commodities, Assamese are gearing up to celebrate one of their most cherished festivals in full splendor.
Designer bonfires (mejis) and community feasts have taken centre–stage as festivities gripped the people – from young to the old alike.
With just a day left for the Uruka (day of feasting), hectic shopping continued on Tuesday in the markets and lanes of the State.
But for Guwahati’s not–so–spoilt–for–choice–citizenry, what the shops offer is what they get, especially when it comes to traditiol food items.
Despite the price hike, Guwahatians are willing to shell out the extra money for the stuff they need. But for the lower–income group, the soaring prices are definitely a discomfort. However, most of them are not pruning down their purchases despite the market being hard on their pockets.
Dairy products from Hajo, Ramdiya and Sorbhog have flooded the city, particularly the food fairs organized at various locations.
Small–time vendors have also put up stalls along lanes and main thoroughfares. Baked rice cakes (pithas and ladoos), with generous mixture of coconut and til (sesame), are being sold at Bihu fairs organized at various places across the State.
“Prices are higher compared to last year. But it has not dampened the buying spree. Customers are purchasing what they want,” says Mukunda Sarma, who has put up a stall of Bihu items at Ganeshguri.
“Prices of all commodities have gone up. These (Bihu items) are made locally with lot of effort…so the prices are bound to be high,” he adds with a smile.
Bhogali Bihu, the harvest festival, is marked with feasts, and fish is an essential part of the courses.
At the famed Uzan Bazar Ghat in the city, traders are hoping to sell over 15 tonnes of fish on Wednesday morning.
“The fishes are being brought from Morigaon, Mangaldai, Tezpur, lbari, Bongaigaon etc. There will be around 20 outlets. We cannot say about the prices…it depends on the retailers…but yes, they are unlikely to be low,” says Bhaskar Das, general secretary of the Greater Uzanbazar SC Unemployed Market Association.
Community feasts will be organized on Wednesday night.
On Thursday morning, ‘mejis’ or ‘bhela ghars’ (traditiol bonfires) made of bamboo and dried hay will be lit at the crack of dawn.
Last the previous few years, the festivities are being marked with designer bonfires this time too.