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Bengal Elections 2021: Sweet shops rush to supply ‘khela hobe’ mishti

Dhiman Das of KC Das said, "From Monday, we have decided to step up our production of rasogollas and other traditional Bengali dessert"

Kinsuk Basu Calcutta Published 03.05.21, 02:21 AM
“Khela hobe” sweets at Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick.

“Khela hobe” sweets at Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick. Telegraph picture

Like many in Bengal, sweet shop owners in the city, too, had not prepared for Sunday’s avalanche.

The sweet sellers had thought it would be a dull verdict day in terms of business because of Covid restrictions and the possibility of a close contest. This turned upside down from late afternoon.


As it became clear Mamata Banerjee was headed for a landslide win, orders for traditional sweets started pouring in and sellers with many decades of experience scrambled to change plans.

Some who had prepared a mix of saffron-coloured sweets, lamented their call. They had to keep those items aside to make way for traditional Bengali mishti.

“We would usually keep around four kilos of sandesh ready. By evening, the volume of orders was double that and we had to bring sankh sandesh from our two other centres,” said Nilanjan Ghosh of Mithai, near Park Circus.
“Given the madness for Bengali sandesh that we witnessed, on Monday I guess we will have to keep around 15 kilos ready.”

Several shop owners said they had no idea there would be such a sudden surge in demand.

“We had kept rasogollas decorated in a one big glass jar. Late in the afternoon, a buyer came looking for several such jars. Unable to find many, he picked up the one that was kept as a showpiece and went away,” said Dhiman Das of KC Das. “From Monday, we have decided to step up our production of rasogollas and other traditional Bengali sweets.”

The landmark KC Das store at Esplanade was a favourite destination for BJP leaders every time Prime Minister Narendra Modi or home minister Amit Shah came to Bengal to campaign. On Sunday, none of those leaders turned up at the shop.

Sunday was quite different from the 2016 result day when several Trinamul leaders had placed orders with some of the city’s traditional sweetmeat shops in advance.

“We have not been scaling up our production since there aren’t too many buyers these days and it is difficult to preserve mishti made from chhana,” said Partha Nandy of Girish Chandra Dey and Nakur Chandra Nandy, the sweet shop in north Calcutta that has been in the business since 1844.

“On Sunday, the orders started pouring in from late afternoon, specifically for our old varieties of sandesh like Jalbhora and Manohara,” he said.

A few others who had prepared mishti of both saffron and green hues ended up moving the former away from their racks.

“We had to keep the orange-coloured mishti items aside. The popular picks were the ones that had ‘khela hobe’ or the Trinamul symbol on them,” said Sudip Mullick of Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick. “Most sweet shop owners were not ready for this sudden demand.”

Over the next few days, as celebrations continue, most sweet shop owners said they hoped to do better business than during Bengali New Year.

Abir (gulal) sellers had not expected such a twist either. From their stock of saffron and green abir, only one colour sold out.

“In just an hour, I sold over four kilos of green abir,” said Rohit Shaw in Burrabazar’s Pagaya Patti.

It was no different across parts of Gariahat, Tollygunge, Kalighat, Maniktala and Dum Dum when shops opened briefly in keeping with the Covid restrictions.

“I had stocked around three kilos of saffron abir. It remained unsold,” said Shibu Maity of Kasba. “But the entire stock of green was sold.”

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