Hyderabad: Whether it is one’s favorite coffee brand or a certain kind of gutkha (a form of chewing tobacco) the lockdown has rendered such favorites inaccessible. But there are always ways to beat the non-availability of favorites around.
Especially, smokers and drunkards need not fret because there are and have always been imaginative ways to beat the restrictions.
With people confined to homes, bored and a little money to spare the demand for cigarettes and alcoholic drinks is on the rise.
A street-smart Alec said, “You want anything, tell me. But you have pay for it, a good price, I say.” He goes on to add, “Madam apne logaaN chahe kuch bhi hoajeye sharab aur cigarette peena nahi chodte (Whatever may happen but our people won’t leave liquor or cigarette).” tu mere gharahak waisch hai.”
The homes of the paan shop owners have turned into mini paan dabbaas. Keeping in mind the social distancing, shop owners are either distributing their customer’s choice by throwing parcels below or above the gates of homes. Then you have the ropes—lower them and pull them back with goodies.
The selling of cigarettes via such delivery boys is prevalent almost everywhere in the city. The delivery of cigarettes is more prevalent in high-income group colonies whereas the sale of cigarettes is seen more in the lanes and by-lanes where middle and lower-income groups live.
Men and boys who have been rendered jobless begun to work as delivery boys. They are following the age-old saying, ‘Darr ke aage kamayee hai (there is income beyond fear). Their job comes with risks. The police patrol vehicles are the biggest problem. One delivery boy confessed, “Though it is highly risky. We are forced to do this because we have no money to feed our families.”
Cigarettes that were sold Rs. 100 a packet during pre-pandemic times now range between Rs. 150 and Rs. 500 a packet.
The delivery fee is charged separately. It begins with Rs. 300 and goes up to Rs. 2500, depending on the area.
Prices also vary according to the hours—in the early morning they are relatively cheaper and when the sun begins its Westward journey the charges go up. Obviously, there are lower risks in the morning hours and higher during the afternoon and evening. No deliveries are made during the night.
The same is the case with liquor but of course, the charges are higher and also depend on its quality and quantity.