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Sweetmeat Sarkar

Sweetmeat Sarkar
Will it be Samajwadi Party again or will Behenji’s Bahujan Samaj Party reign the state? Whether the state will witness BJP ending its 14-years of vanvaas or whether Congress will make inroads into the state? The dagger of uncertainty looms large over Uttar Pradesh as it’s heading towards the assembly elections. However, one winner is decided. It is sweet shop owners across the state who emerge victorious throughout the year irrespective of any occasion.

We Indians love to celebrate, be it then the uncountable festivals, birthdays, welcoming a new member to the family or even when your beloved son passes metric in first division (that however is another thing how many years your brat has taken to pass that exam) all calls for a celebration. So, when it comes to the nation’s most populous state where there is divine sweetness in the very tongue of its inhabitants, celebrating occasions with sweets comes in naturally. 

Come what party may, the ‘sugarbowl’ of India will get yet another reason to celebrate it in every nook and cranny across the state. Apart from the regulars like Diwali, Holi, Rakshabandhan and the likes when the sweet shops see a boom in their sales, is the election season also the time when sweet shops witness profit scenario?

Uttar Pradesh is a home to some of the finest sweet shops in the country. To talk of specifically, shops like Chhappan Bhog and Ritz in Lucknow as also the renowned Calcutta Sweets, to Thaggu Ke Laddu and Banarsi Mishthan Bhandar in Kanpur are amongst a plethora of other sweet outlets.

So, with the assembly elections nearing, the sweet shop owners have diverse versions to the profit made during the election season. While many sweet shop owners across the state deny that election cast any impact on their sales, others point out that during elections their sales plummet.

Bound for assembly polls as also gearing up for Durga Puja, here are some of the famous sweetmeat shops across the state that have been serving happiness since ages while they share what’s their profit like when  election storm hits the state. Popular among the denizens, is a name that stands old and big, Ritz. Apart from serving multi-cuisine food, it’s motichoor laddus are something which one cannot afford to miss. When asked how do elections affect their business, Abhishek Khanna, owner of the shop said, “Elections has nothing to do with our sales”. Denying any demand for pre-orders, he added, “There are 250-253 people who win. Whichever party wins, they buy sweets from their nearest shops. There is nothing like a particular shop”. On asking about his party preference, Khanna answered, “I don’t have any particular choice. All I want is whichever party wins, it should work for the welfare of the state and work properly.”

Using the best quality of dry fruits from Afghanistan, the USA and Iran, Chhappan Bhog in Lucknow has its own inventions to try from. Mewa bite is the shop’s own creation which is the most sought after by its clientele. Here, the chocolate sweets have a shelf life of more than three months and can be transported to long distances. “Mewa bite, Orange bite, and Choco bite were invented by us while others have followed suit”, says Rajesh Gupta, the salesperson of Lucknow’s most famed sweet shop known worldwide adding  that “Election has nothing to do with the sale of sweets”. 

While the shop owners across the state are echoing a similar view that elections don’t reflect on the sweet business, the 86-year-old Calcutta Sweets in Lucknow has a different story to tell.

With a colourful array of mithai on display, this shop is also one of the most sought after sweet shop in the capital. Serving sweets made of chena, this sweet shop has a huge work ahead with the festival of Durga Puja just round the corner. Some out-of-the-box sweets include pantua, lancha, and pug chena among other Bengali staples on display. Commenting on the election time, Akash Chatterjee, proprietor of the shop says, “Election time comes along with its own uncertainty. So it doesn’t reflect much on our business. However, even if it happens are sales go down. 

People feel sad when their favourite party is not elected to power. Thus, they don’t sometimes feel it a reason to celebrate. But, the shop does make profit manifold when during Durga puja. People throng to the shop to have their favourite typical Bengali sweets. The halwais there,  have been working for the past 50 years and therefore the shop doesn’t disappoint the customers when it comes to maintaining the quality of sweets.

Talking about the industrial city, the names may sound strange but the taste is such that it’s famed worldwide. Have you ever come across a person, who calls himself a thag? Well, the answer will be an easy NO! But that is not true in the case of Kanpur’s famed Thaggu Ke Laddu where hundreds of people gather every day to satiate their tingling taste buds. This honest thag has gone on to place a hoarding which reads, “Aisa Koi Saga Nahi, Jisko Humne Thaga Nahi” (There is no relative remaining whom I have not cheated). And it’s not only the local people who have been pulled in by the taste of its ‘suji’ laddus, but its mouth-watering delicacy has been praised by the likes of Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Prem Chopra, Jaya Bachchan and many more Bollywood celebrities.

What may surprise you is not just this. The kulfi here, known as badnaam kulfi, which people cutting across various age groups relish. Though the shop has striking names but this confectioner is definitely the one for which you can fall for.

Thus, we see that the opportunity to try and cash in on the political fever that grips the states isn’t a common phenomenon in Uttar Pradesh. So, Iss baar jiski bhi sarkar, the mithai walas will try put up a good show on their part by continuing to provide diversity in sweets while maintaining the taste.

Therefore, be it any occasion or a simple election if you happen to cross UP you know where to drop by as these confectioners won’t disappoint you with the mouth-watering delicacies. So, let’s get enticed by the thags of Kanpur and not just the nawabiyat in the tunde kebabi but also the royalty which Chhappan Bhog has to offer in the city of nawabs. Toh iss election kyun na kuch meetha ho jaaye?

 
There are 250-253 people who win. Whichever party wins, they buy sweets from their nearest shops. There is nothing like a particular shop. -Abhishek Khanna, Ritz

 
Election time comes along with its own uncertainty. So it doesn’t reflect much on our business. However, even if it happens are sales go down. People feel sad when their favourite party is not elected to power. Thus, they don’t sometimes feel it a reason to celebrate. -Akash Chatterjee, Proprietor of Calcutta Sweets
ADITI MISHRA

ADITI MISHRA

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