If you haven’t stocked up on food supplies for a traditional Onam feast, then maybe it’s time to make a trip to the Onachandha ’13 (Onam Market in Malayalam), that began on Wednesday. Organised for the fifteenth year running by the Madras Kerala Samajam, the small but homely exhibiton of ‘Keralite’ wares is sure to be a godsend for people looking to buy banana chips and nendhram plantains in bulk quantities.
“One of the essential components of Onam sadhya and Onam itself is the nendhram. To help Malayalis in Chennai feast on good quality nendhrams we signed a contract a person to bring 5 tonnes from Kerala,” explained Unnikrishnan, one of the members of the Keralite association. The best part? It’s extremely easy on the pocket, “Outside it is sold at anywhere between Rs 75 and Rs 85, even reaching up to Rs 100 per kilo on Thiruvonam day. But we are selling it at a subsidised rate of Rs 60 per kilo,” he added.
The stall operated by the Madras Kerala Samajam also sells banana chips at a low-profit cost of Rs 200 per kilo against a retail rate of Rs 250-300. And it’s all for a good cause too. “Most of the children studying in this school are from homes where money is not constant. So we use the proceeds from this sale to help the children study. We are hoping to make a decent profit this year, provided the weather is on our side,” he said. Gloomy skies and a night marred by heavy rainfall did little to dampen their plans as the chandha was inaugurated by Prince Jose of Prince Jewellery and Dr Anoop of Medimix.
Besides their stall, other retailers and manufacturers who sell products that are native to Kerala – from traditional hand-embroidered saris, herbal soaps, Kerala spices and brown rice to a more upscale ready-to-eat palappam and idiyappam brand. Most of the stuff is on offer and is available at a good rate. It may be a little difficult to find the Kerala Vidyalaya school that has played host to the Samaj and this sale since its inception, but rest assured, the journey will be well worth your while. Incidentally, it’s the left turn after Flowers Road signal, off Poonamallee High Road. The festivities will last till Sunday, between 8 am and 8 pm.