Durga Puja/ Representative pic
Durga Puja/ Representative pic

Indore: Indian festivals are observed in grand scale... the mass participation, the masti, food and fun unlimited is... or rather would become a thing of the past, considering the advent of corona virus. Indian festivals are mini industries, involving thousands of people and there are some people who "depend" on these festivals for their annual livelihood.

All that is past now...

Life, at least for now, will never be the same again especially with the government guidelines of maintaining social distancing during gatherings. Though unimaginable, life will take its course and people will have to adapt to it.

All said and done, the festive season is round the corner and to start with Id, Free Press makes a reality check of how the festivals of India will be "observed" (in place of celebrated) in the city this year.

IMPACT ON THE MIND

The lockdown is affecting people physiologically too. According to Dr Pawan Rathi Professor & Head of psychiatry Department of Aurbindo Medical College and a renowned psychiatrist said since the lockdown has started, there has been a rise of 25 per cent cases of depression and mental instability.

He said, "humans are a social beings and putting a lease on their mingling especially in times of festivals will obviously have a huge impact on their minds. But there's no way out either. This is, perhaps the order of the day and one has to change themselves to survive in such conditions

He also said to remain safe from such anxiety disorders people should accept the lockdown mentally, also should socialize virtually and gradually their system will accept this order. Also, group call can be a therapy for some in times of depression. People should also stay away from too of morbid news.

"It is observed that many patients who had a past record of of anxiety are again getting panic attacks and are again facing mental stress problems. Also addiction of gaming has increased manifold", Dr Rathi added.

DURGA PUJA SPOILER

The fate of Durga Puja will also be the same. The cultural secretary of Bengali Club (Indore), Ambuj Dutta said, "Corona menace has affected us. The club is 103 years old and we our Durga Puja is being held for the last 90 years. About 5,000 people participate in the celebration. This year, we would be celebrating among just 20 club members. Every year, our budget used to be around Rs 10 to 12 lakh. Annually, the expenses go up by 8 to 10 per cent. This year we can hardly manage a budget of Rs 2 lakh. We have decided to reduce the quantity of bhog (khichri) drastically.

RUINED BUSINESS...

With Id round the corner, FP went on a trek to check the business done this year vis-a-vis in 2019. A dampened market with down shutters was the hall mark of the mandi.

It is observed that the shopkeepers in Indore itself have faced a loss of about more than Rs 50 lakhs this festival season.

Sajid Khan, a readymade garments shopkeeper said last year, he had earned a profit of more than Rs 25,000 in the last three days to the run up to the Id. However, this year, the accounts books show a cipher. He pointed at most shops which were shut due to the continuous lockdowns and said more than 1,500 shopkeepers like him who are in the red. He said, "if we talk about malls and big garments complexes, the loss overall loss amount would run into lakhs of rupees".

Mukesh Joshi, accessory shopkeeper at Novelty Market, said last year, products of around 30,000 to 40,000 were sold... but this year the income or profit margin is zero. Nothing has been sold so far and even he did not even get the time to replenish his stock. He also added that many items were damaged because shops remianed closed due to which products could not be maintained. He also lamented that despite no sale, he has to shell out the rent etc.

Muqtar, trader of sewaiya and dry fruits said, "Every year people buy carton-full products as several guests visit their homes. Now, the situation is opposite people are buying only two to three packets and that too we can only sell it to our persons unofficially as shops are closed. Last year, I did business of around Rs 50,000 and this year it has been below 10,000".

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