Packaged Faith

Ready-made gudis available in the market have seen a steady increase in demand.

Written by Express News Service | Published: March 22, 2012 2:45:46 am

Ready-made gudis available in the market have

seen a steady increase in demand.

The festival of Gudi Padwa marks the beginning of the new year. One can spot shoppers carrying lists of items to be purchased for the main puja,especially at the buzzing lanes of Mandai.

On the day of Gudi Padwa,the auspicious gudis are put up in every Maharashtrian home. Generally,yellow silk cloth is tied at one end of a long bamboo stick along with mango and neem twigs. As one passes by shops at Mandai,one can spot several gudis neatly arranged. Traditionally made at homes,the last five years have seen an increase in demand for ready-made gudis.

At the 100-year-old Mate Puja Bhandar,a stack of neatly packed gudis stands in a corner. Nilesh Mate,who owns the shop,has seen a steady increase in demand for these gudis. Five years ago,he had stocked some 75-odd gudis. Today,he sells more than 500 gudis in a matter of two days before the festival. “Earlier every house would invest time and make the gudis on their own. Now,who has the energy and inclination?” says Mate.

Next door to Mate’s store is Sidhi Parmial Mandir that has been making gudis and selling it on their own. “We realised that there is a demand and so every year,around five or six of our staff members sit and prepare gudis,” says Nilesh Shaha,owner. Most of the gudis that are sold in the city areas are either manufactured by the shop owners themselves or outsourced by women who manufacture these at their homes. “I get these from Sadashiv Peth and Kondhwa,” says Mate.

Forty-year-old Prachi Godbole makes more than 2500 gudis for a season. Godbole operates from her apartment in Sadashiv Peth. She supplies these gudis to several stores in Mandai,Bibvewadi,Kothrud and Sahakar Nagar in Pune,Amravati and nearby areas. “I had started this purely as a hobby. Six years ago,when I began I didn’t know it would meet with such good demand,” she says.

Her gudis are made in the traditional way – using wood,paithani saree and artificial flowers. “Everything is done here only,right from making the small necklaces to embroidery and stitching. I have one person who helps me with this work. I start making gudis in December only so that by March we are ready with them,” she says. This year,she has also received orders by Indians living in Singapore and the USA. In her apartment,several of these gudis packed in transparent boxes are ready to be delivered. “This year,I also made small gudis for cars. I try to stick to the traditional format while trying something new every year,” she adds.

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