Festive bash symbolising 'status' or ' values'?

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Lucknow, Mar 17: Holi -- a festival that traditionally marks 'unity and brotherhood' -- has of late taken a dip in the hues of 'glamour,' consequently widening the gap between the rich and the poor in society. With a whiff of Holi already swirling in the air and markets brimming with goodies, common things are, however, far beyond the reach of 'aam-admi'(the common man).

Even as Holi cannot be thought of without the yummy 'gujiyas,' their exorbitant prices have surely deterred many from purchasing them. This season one can witness a change in platter with the gold work 'gujiyas'. But, of course, before having a taste of this delectable cuisine, get ready for a big hole in your pocket, as these may cost around Rs 4,000 per kg. 'Chhappan Bhog,' the renowned sweetmeat shop situated in the heart of Uttar Pradesh capital, is ready to offer this new variety with many culinary delights that may leave your mouth watery...mewa, kesar, kaju, pista, badam, simple khoya and sugar free gujiyas are in different flavours, ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 750 per kg. Shekhar Gupta, the owner of the shop, says, '' Changing time has surely brought a change in the celebration style of festival, too.

Earlier, only simple khoya gujiyas were in use, but now one can opt for anything according to one's budget and suitability. '' ''Relishing gold work gujiyas would be a dream to many, as there is only a section of society, which can afford them,'' Priyanka, a homemaker says. Now, festivals seem to have become more of a status symbol than celebration, she adds.

Many sweet shops are preferring not to experiment much and preparing the everlasting simple khoya gujiyas.

'Silver' and colourful Chinese 'pichkaris,' also known as water guns, squirt guns and sprinklers are flooding the markets and have already flooded the domestic market for the upcoming festival. Silver pichkaris start onward of Rs 1,200 and vary according to their weight, Chinese water pistols are made of light plastic and selling like hot cakes in the market.

Priced upward of Rs 10 for a water pistol, these Chinese waterguns are also available with a price tag of Rs 2,500 for a large 'machine-gun' capable of holding 6 litres of water at one time and offering unlimited scope for Holi revelry.

Designed as animals, pistols, guns and pencils to shoot coloured water upon the revellers, these modern water guns have lesser weight, larger stroke length and larger diameter.

'' Parents, who till now refused their children gun shaped pichkaris can hardly oppose these animal shaped Chinese toys, which are also more vibrant and durable,'' Manish Agarwal, a vendor at busy Ameenabad area here told UNI.

The Chinese goods now hold a virtual monopoly in the water gun segment and have added a tinge of 'glamour' to the festival gaiety.

UNI

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