Visiting Sadar Bazaar ahead of Diwali gives an altogether different high. A nip in the air, festive vibes and the aroma of lip-smacking foods from almost every corner of the place makes the experience worthwhile. But this year, are you ready to step out and wade the pollution to reach this part of Old Delhi to procure lights to make your Diwali bright? Not many would say yes to this, due to the pandemic, and thus seeing the low footfall at this popular market, the shopkeepers have taken the virtual route.

“I’ve made my Facebook page. And what I do is record and upload videos showing how to assemble strings of lights that reach people via home delivery.”– Manpreet Singh, a shopkeeper in Sadar Bazaar

To make up for the lost business due to Covid-19 situation, shopkeepers here have started accepting orders on call and even enabling home delivery of products through courier. But, above and beyond all this, these shopkeepers have taken the help of online channel to boost their sales. “I’ve made my Facebook page. And what I do is record and upload videos showing how to assemble strings of lights that reach people via home delivery,” says Manpreet Singh, owner of Kuku Light House, adding, “There is awareness among people, not just about precautions related to Covid-19, but also about the need to support and buy Indian items. So, we create our own patterns, designs and even provide customised lights to those who are keen. This time as we start home delivery of lights, of course for orders that have a minimum of 10 items, we are also exporting our products outside India, and the response has been good.”

Singh explains how “all parts are delivered separately” and thus there is a need to learn how to assemble them. “Rather than plain textures, Madhubani, Marwari, and flower pattern lights are more in demand this year because of their appealing look. Some customers are also asking for metal and wooden lights. We try to revive old art by recreating wall hanging lights. And since we show how to do put all the bulbs and wires yourself, one of the MNC’s in Jaipur got impressed and placed an order of 700 wooden lights, with their company name carved on it!”

“Most of the bandarwals we have got from Ahmedabad. Despite stocking up on new designs and a huge variety, there are hardly any takers in the market this year.” – Prahlad Yadav, a shopkeeper in Sadar Bazaar

While some have adapted to online ways of the trade, a few others are planning to follow suit, seeing the success in the medium. Prahlad Yadav, another shopkeeper in Sadar, who sells bandarwals and torans alongwith lights, says, “Most of our products are made in India. Most of the bandarwal we’ve, we got it from Ahmedabad. Despite stocking up on new designs and a huge variety, there are hardly any takers in the market this year. Due to strict Covid-19 precautions, customers are not turning up for the fear of being in a crowded place. Even the street hawkers are not allowed to set-up their stalls. So, I have now started talking to a few dealers who sell products online, and they have expressed that they are keep to collaborate with me, and help me sell my products via internet.”

It’s also this reason why more online sellers can be spotted shopping in Sadar of late. “I’m not a direct seller. I pick up all the festive decor from Old Delhi, and then sell it to a second party that sells these products under a brand name on a website,” says Priya Khoundal from Himachal Pradesh, who was visiting Sadar recently, and add, “I am not surprised to know that there is more online sale this year. This gives another reason to shopkeepers to think about the better prospects they have, if they partner with us. At least they will make a fair deal and not go down in losses this Diwali!”

Author tweets @ruchikagarg271

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