Millennium Post

The Chemical Curiosity

Chemistry might have scared many to the bones but one cannot ignore the relevance and extreme importance it has in our mundane life. Use of chemicals can be witnessed in every industry, be it food, pharmacy, clothes, cosmetics, fireworks or even paper. The substantial evidence of the presence of chemical is an undeniable fact.

With the festive season beginning every year with around August, the bylanes of Tilak Bazaar at Khari Baoli just gets busier with business. It is the chemical market in New Delhi- a major chunk of chemical dealing takes place from this area. With numerous dealers from about 900 shops in the lane, traders from across the state buy their required wholesale material from Tilak bazaar, a distribution hub.

“We cater to the dealers, the shopkeepers and  the companies, who need approximately 200-500 kilos of our products during the season. Wholesalers start to purchase from June-July. The busiest time in the market is the tenure between August and November as post-Diwali business recedes. 

Our bulk season ends about 15 days before Diwali,” says Pradeep Gupta, President of Chemical Merchantile Association. Every dealer looks forward to these three to four months which set a pace for the business throughout the year.

The festival season starts with Rakshabandhan, two months before Diwali and usually the festive mood dampens right after the festival of lights, but then comes the great Indian wedding season. 

According to Gupta, the bulk production recedes after Diwali because they always produce more material than the probable amount required and those which had not been used in the festivals are used up in the during the mad wedding season.

“We specialise in food processing, medicine and cosmetic chemicals. The chemicals we trade are used in the pharmacy industry, packed food-food processing industry and cosmetics.

The textile industry is our largest consumer base. Every industry has some amount of chemical usage and there are some common chemicals which are used across the industry like caustic soda,” explained Gupta.

With the growing trend of processed food in the market (as gifting options), the demand of chemicals is huge. Earlier, people would only consider sweets for gifts during Diwali, but later it shifted over to confectioneries and chocolates where steps in the use of preservatives.

The aim is to create products that last longer, while traditional sweets made of ghee have a shelf life of about 10 days, sweets made of ‘chhena’ last barely for 2-4 days. The use of preservative chemicals enables one to retain the gifts and consume them over a period of time. Hence the gradual shift from sweets to bakery and chocolates have taken place to secure an investment. 

Acidulants, preservatives, baking soda, Citric acid, tartaric acid, sodium sulphate and many more are used in the production of juices, confectioneries and bakery products which are consumed in large quantities during festivities.

Glitters as well are part of the chemical business which might be categorised with dyes. For different kind of cloths there is different range of colours which may differ based on the fashion trend. These glitters are also used in gift wrappers, cards and envelopes. 

Polyesters, cotton and silk all have difference ranges of glitters. Now since fluorescent colours are in trend, they are also used in glitters The cloth pouches which we use while gifting something to someone have gold and bronze powder which are used for printing on the cloths. These as well have the need for chemicals.

When does business go through a trough? It is the few months of extreme heat May June July and January and December during which the dealers experience a dull period in business. 

The next time you buy something form the stores while you are shopping for Diwali, think about the huge contributionChemistry did to mankind and stop hating the subject. These old lanes and bylanes of ‘purani dilli’ not only have innumerable stories of the past but as well hold major importance in the business sector. Yet the roads are labelled in the minds of people as the not-safe places.

The area of Khari Baoli can be a huge delight for photographers because of the uncountable presence of human locomotion and emotion which can be captured into beautiful photographs.
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