Instead of sweets and other delicacies, Pune residents are increasingly opting to gift fruit baskets to friends and family on the occasion of Diwali. As prices of sweets and savoury rise, especially during the festive season, and people get more health conscious, many residents of Pune are preferring to switch to healthy food items. Pradip Kumbhar, who has been selling fruits for 23 years, says, “So many people are diabetic and they can’t relish the dozens of sweets prepared during Diwali. Fruits are at least a healthier option.”
Kumbhar sells fruits outside India Meteorological Department, popularly known as Shimla Office, on Ganeshkhind Road. One of the first vendors to introduce this idea of fruit baskets, today he has customers from Shirur, Aurangabad and other cities. He says he has shipped over 50 fruit baskets this week itself.
Kumbhar, a second-generation fruit seller, carefully places oranges, apples and pomegranate, besides muskmelon and watermelon, in a large basket — ordered by an industrialist. The baskets ranges from 15 cm to 40 cm in diameter and each of them is wrapped in red silk.
For the next half an hour, Kumbhar carefully chooses a variety of fruits — kiwi, cherry, avocado, custard apple, pear, grapes and many more — and then meticulously arranges them inside the basket. As a final touch, he wraps the basket with a colourful net and ties a satin ribbon around it.
Kumbhar said he enjoys “decorating” the basket. “It is an art and I enjoy arranging each one of them. While some customers demand specific fruits, most of them leave it up to me and I take time to fill up every basket.”
Because of the high demand of his products, Kumbhar says he even has to import some fruits, which cost as much as Rs 5,000 per kg.
“ I have been doing this business for more than two decades. More people now prefer to gift fruit baskets on festive occasions, or on other occasions like birthdays or anniversaries,” he says.