KOCHI: When the floods submerged a major chunk of the state and shook the rest of it, plans for a prosperous and extravagant Onam also went down the drain.However, aiming for rocketing sales on Chingam 1 as usual, flower vendors from different parts of the state have arrived in the city a few days prior to the start of the Malayalam month. “It is only the beginning of the season but the number of traders is far less than other years,” says Sathish, a flower vendor on the Paramara Road in the city. “Usually, vendors arrive in the city several days prior to Atham to let people know of our presence in the area. Now, it’s just a few of us.”
Moreover, flower vendors in the city are banking on celebrations in the private offices and institutions. “With celebrations in the government offices being cancelled owing to floods, we are hoping to bridge the issue with private offices and educational institutions,” says Suresh, another vendor from Palakkad. “There will at least be small-scale celebrations. We are not sure whether ‘pookkalam’ competitions and other festivities will be held. We know the floods have dampened Onam and we are expecting a loss. But we are hoping for the best.”
For the Onam sale, most flowers are brought from Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Dindigul. The price of the flowers depends on the sales in these places. While a kilogramme of orange-coloured marigold costs around Rs 180, the same quantity of yellow marigold is sold at around Rs 300.