The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 16 , 2014
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Food, function ring in 1421

- Fish burn hole in pockets

The culturally rich Bengalis welcomed year 1421 on Tuesday with prayers, new clothes, sweets, delicious fish and poetic text messages.

Large number of people turned up at different temples across Ranchi since early morning with Church Road Kali Mandir drawing the maximum number of devotees. Serpentine queues outside the temples continued past 11 in the morning.

From one temple, the foodie Bengalis straightaway head towards another temple of a different kind — the market — to buy their favourite fish, fresh veggies and of course sweets. Tuesday being a working day, the Bengalis went to market to shop for a sumptuous dinner.

Though most had nothing to complaint regarding the price of the vegetables or that of the sweets, the price tag on fishes did burn a hole in their pockets.

The silvery queen of fishes Hilsa was available for something between Rs 700 and Rs 1,200 a kg, while other varieties were also priced a little higher than usual. For instance, pomfret was available for Rs 800 a kilo, the price of regular ones like rohu/katla was also high by about Rs 60.

The fish sellers, however, pinned the blame for the price rise on the ongoing general election.

“The number of trucks that carry fish to Ranchi has reduced, as many vehicle have been taken away for poll purposes. This has resulted in short supply and thus the subsequent price hike,” explained a vendor at Doranda market.

But, the fish seller had the acumen of a true businessman to realise that no matter what the price is Bengalis will buy fish on this special day.

Co-vendor Rajendra Nishad at Doranda market couldn’t agree more. “Those who love eating fishes will buy even if it is available for a hefty price. However, the price hike surely affects the sale,” conceded Nishad.

Bengali customers, too, echoed their helplessness. “Yes, the rates are indeed high. I bought prawns for Rs 600 a kg and that too after a good amount of bargaining,” said Swapan Sarkhel, adding that he couldn’t help, as it was a special day.

If the morning meant prayers and shopping, the evening was reserved for cultural programmes.

Clubs like Majlish and Union Club and Library lined up a series of programmes. While Majlish roped in local artistes to entertain the audience, Union Club and Library invited vocalists Bishwarup Rudra and Sudeshna Sanyal Rudra from Calcutta to perform at their Naba barsho gala.

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