People buy caps from a street vendor at Fancy Bazar. File picture
Aug. 3: For Farhan Javed, parking his two-wheeler in a chock-a-block alley of Lakhtokia became next to impossible on a hot summer day.
“I managed to finally park my bike after 10 minutes. The place was unusually crowded but I had anticipated the rush as it is Ramazan time,” the college sophomore said.
A traditional Muslim hub in the city, Lakhtokia was unusually hectic as shoppers thronged the makeshift stalls of the busy commercial area on the second day of the holy month of Ramazan.
With just two rozas gone by, it hasn’t taken long for people to throng the markets for their Ramazan essentials as well as other festive purchases. People make a beeline for their prayer caps, ittar (perfume), pagri, zaynamaz (prayer mat), tosbih (beads) and scarves.
It’s the time of the year when a variety of the otherwise unavailable products — be it the holy Quran or wall hangings and showpieces — flood the stalls with vendors from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat converging for a seasonal sale.
Tailors have serpentine queues in front of their shops during the month. The eating joints, too, are crowded while the prices of grocery items, fruits and fish are sky high.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The traders of Lakhtokia are convinced that the sales this season will be better than the previous years.
Zakir Ahmed, who has put up a stall on the compound of Ek Number Masjid, said, “We put up the stalls last Monday and people have come out in large numbers. In the past two days, the sales has been quite impressive.”
Fruit vendors, too, rip off huge profits. Bananas, apples, grapes, pears and mangoes seem to have many takers and hence, the prices abruptly shoot up.
Prices of dry fruits, especially dates, also go up, courtesy the increase in demand. Dates, that are otherwise sold at Rs 120 during off-season, are now available at Rs 160 onwards.
Besides fruits, prices of flower and fruit squashes have also gone up.
Similarly, grocery items, including gram and besan, are also being sold in huge quantities.
Ahmed, who has been putting up such stalls since 2008, said sales during this time of the year were unusually good.
“We have our set of loyal customers who come only to us out of habit, which is why we put up stalls every year,” he said.
Ahmed’s brother Izaz-ul-Haq also agrees with him. Haq, too, has been in the trade at Lakhtokia for a while. Although he is yet to put up his stall, he believes it will be ready by next Monday.
According to Ahmed, Arhan 3ml, 786 series, NFR 8ml amongst ittar and prayer caps like Indo cap, hazi tupi, 5 kalli are selling like hot cakes.
Unlike Ahmed, whose products are Guwahati-based, Haq said he was going to bring all his products from Delhi.
The eating joints, that are making arrangements for iftar and sehree, are open round the clock. During these 30 days, the joints offer services from 10am to 10pm and 2pm to 4am with a special menu for the occasion. The special menu for both iftar and sehree comprises sheekh kebab, shammi kebab, kofta, paratha, milk, fruits, barfi and phirni.
Dispur has allowed Muslim employees to leave office half-an-hour earlier than scheduled time because of Ramazan. However, they have to be in office half-an-hour earlier than the scheduled time, at 9.30am.