Iconic 'sandesh' gets a facelift in election season
Kolkata: The "sandesh" has been dressed up. It is on a catwalk either as the Trinamool's "jora ghash phul" (twin-flower), BJP's lotus, Congress hand symbol or the hammer and sickle of the CPI-M.
These "election sweets" are just flying off the shelves at Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick, one of the oldest confectioners in the city, or Shibani Sweets at Sodepur in the northern suburb.
With the humble "nakuldana" (flour-sugar balls) and "laddoo" taking the centre stage ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in rural Bengal, the confectioners in Kolkata are not leaving any opportunity to bank on the frenzied ambience.
"Sandesh" (cottage cheese sweet) is readily coming up in any form you wish. They have been flying off the shelves since the election drums were rolled.
"We have been making these sweets during elections for many years. This year too the response is very good," Poppy Mullick of Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick said.
Asked which party-themed sweet was selling the most, she jokingly said "no comments".
Regarding the bulk orders placed by the party workers, Mullick gave a hint that "the ruling Trinamool Congress topped the chart." They have priced a sweet of 250 gm at Rs 150.
The Sodepur sweet shop, which specialises in theme-based sweets during football and cricket World Cups, is offering decorative trays filled with huge sweets replicated as party symbols.
Trinamool's twin-flower, BJP's lotus, the hand symbol of Congress or the hammer and sickle of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) — they have all been given a sweet twist.
"We are offering the big trays for Rs 800-2,000 each while a small sandesh is priced at Rs 70," said Sanjib Das, a staff at Shibani Sweets.
Das is elated as this year the shop is getting "huge response". He mentioned that the customers are so impressed that they are asking for larger sizes.
"The 'Trinamool sandesh' is in great demand. Sweets of other parties like the BJP, Congress and the CPI(M) are selling too," Das said.
Orders can also be customised as per the customers' demand. The shops also ensure that the customers get fresh sweets, so after placing the order, one has to wait for a little time.
Almost 14-15 men are toiling hard to churn out these sweet delicacies laced with aesthetic appeal at Shibani Sweets.
"This is just the beginning, I am sure that as the election heat picks up, the demand will keep soaring. We will try our best to deliver," Das said.
While Mullicks will stick to sweets with party symbols, Shibani Sweets will try to come up with sweets replicating leaders' faces if demanded.
Amidst the high voltage campaigns, these sweets will add a dash of goodness and will be savoured by the supporters and the members of the winning party and candidates, the shop said.
Trinamool Congress' Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal's directive to party workers to hand over "nakuldana" and water to people to keep them cool and the BJP's decision to distribute "laddoos" among the people as a counter move has added to the sweetness of the electoral contest in the state.
The seven-phase Lok Sabha elections in the state will be held between April 11 and May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23.