Hyderabad: The 36-day long Covid-19 has brought about changes that had never been witnessed before.
The city is witnessing a deadly combination of Ramadan (month of spiritual activities and festivities) and COVID -19 (the dreaded disease in the air) along with lockdown. The thirty-six days of lockdown had emptied the pockets of the middle class, bought the daily wage workers on to streets and the upper-middle class in an unspeakable situation.
The first three days of Ramadan were completely opposite to that of last year when the Old City overflowed to visitors, buyers and traditional food eaters. Hustle bustle marked every Ramadan.
But this time around it is all about empty streets, empty mosques, no public and family Iftaar parties. Also, no Taraweeh (the night prayer) and of course, no Haleem. There is hardly any money in the pockets and bazaars are empty.
Though the sale of fruits has also seen a dip, whatever is available it is there for higher prices. According to traders, there is at least a 25% surge in the prices of fruits.
The apple which cost Rs. 20 apiece is now costing Rs. 30. The prices of mangos have been raised according to variety and availability. It starts with the more commonly available variety of Benishan or Banganapally Rs. 80 and goes up and up. Lemon which is an essential ingredient for making lemonade has also witnessed a considerable rise.
In spite of the visible rise in prices, people believe that the availability of fruits make Ramadan a little more attractive than it would have been the fruits had disappeared from the market. The market is overflowing good sweet grapes, oranges, watermelons, Laddu kharbooza (muskmelons), papaya and pineapples.
A fruit vendor in Koti, one of the major fruit markets in the city, said, “We cannot reduce the prices. The market is such. The wholesale market has to reduce prices for us to sell for less. If that doesn’t happen we cannot do anything. To be honest, the prices are not as bad as we had expected due to lockdown.”
All fruit sellers agreed that there big drop in the consumption of fruits this Ramadan. This is the season they wait for making good business but owing to lockdown and scarcity of money in the pockets of buyers the sales are down.
An auto-rickshaw driver said summed up the situation in an emotional sentence. “We are breaking fast with water, not fruits. There is no money to buy even banana, the bestselling fruit for its price,” he said.
The problem of fruits are not being bought is not restricted to Muslims who happen to buy more during this season. But it is the general public which is not coming forward because there is no spare cash for fruits.
Coronavirus has hit hard everybody with the decimation of caste, religion or creed.