CHENNAI:On a day the city remained uncharacteristically quiet without schools, colleges and offices, when even a large number of commercial establishments and markets remained closed, it was buzzling with activity at one portion of the Koyambedu market -- the flower market.
As a large number of people observed the mourning of the passing away of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who was buried at his native Rameswaram on Thursday, flowers were the most in-demand item right from Wednesday night.
Incidentally, this is the Tamil month of Aadi when usually there is not much of business for them.
“This month is usually dull for flower sellers, as people don’t celebrate any auspicious events. But since Wednesday night, the sale of loose flowers has gone up substantially due to city’s love for People’s President Abdul Kalam,” said Mookaiyan, secretary of Koyambedu Flower Wholesale Market Association. The women who make garlands spent the whole night on Wednesday working to meet the anticipated demand on Thursday. There was a huge portrait of the late leader at the entrance of the flower market, adorned with flowers of various colours. But the respect they had for Kalam clearly went beyond that — despite the huge demand for flowers, there was no surge pricing to capitalise on the high demand.
Mookaiyan says that flower merchants were able to sell their merchandise as there was huge demand of flowers from Kalam fans across the city.
“During this month we are able to sell 100 to 150 kg of loose flowers, which include jungle rose, rose and other flowers. But Wednesday night, I managed to sell 300 to 350 kg of flowers,” said Dhanasekhar, a flower seller. He said that usually a total of 10 to 12 garlands were sold. But on Wednesday and Thursday there has been brisk sale of garlands. “I managed to sell about 25 garlands,” he said.
The popularity of the former President is such that most streets in Chennai were adorned with his posters, photographs or portraits, put up by common people including local residents.
In Aminjikarai, traders downed shutters as a mark of respect. There was also a Shamiana on the roadside that had Dr Kalam’s photo on a table, decorated with flowers.
The otherwise busy market place in Aminjikarai wore a desolate look during the day.