From microphones and social networking sites, the ‘Khela Hobe’ craze has reached the shelves of your favourite sweet shops, with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ close on its heels.
Sweet shop owners say that no matter who wins the political battle, they are ready with their sweet revenge. There is a huge craze for the ‘Khela Hobe’ sweets already, but the fans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ sandesh are not sitting idle either. Either way, those with a sweet tooth have started revving up the demand in all shops selling these novelty items, much to the delight of the sweet makers. They said that the demand for the ‘vote sweets’ has picked up and a clear divide in preference can be seen in different pockets of the city.
While it is ‘Khela Hobe’ all the way in South Kolkata, in parts of North Kolkata, ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is a close second, though it is a clear first among buyers in Salt Lake and New Town. “‘Khela Hobe’ is such a catchy slogan and tune that we brought it to our shelves just to add some spice to our mundane lives. And it kicked up a storm,” said Amitabha Dey of the 175-year-old Rishra sweet shop Felu Modak. The sandesh is a bestseller and people from the city are ordering in bulk.
Nalinchandra Das, another heritage sweet shop, has been a traditional ‘vote mishti’ maker that has experimented with both ‘Khela Hobe’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’ sweets in cake-type sandesh and in traditional sandesh.
“I was just testing the market, but I am really surprised at the demand. The ‘Khela Hobe’ sweets have added some variety because earlier we would stick to the grass-flower symbol and would emboss it on the sweet. For the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ sandesh, we are using food colour to make them attractive and the clientele is slightly different,” said owner Tapan Das.
The shop has seen a surge in demand for ‘Khela Hobe’ sweets at its Rashbehari, Shyampukur and Manicktala outlets, while at the New Town and Salt Lake outlets, the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ sandesh is leading.
This was echoed by Sudip Mullick of Balaram Mullick. Shops are being stocked according to the demand. “We don’t know if the divide has got anything to do with people’s political leanings, but a divide does exist. Perhaps it is a taste divide,” Mullick said.
The sweet maker has been making ‘vote sweets’ for many years now and said that while earlier the demand for such sweets usually picked up after the election results were announced, these days, gifting of ‘vote sweets’ starts quite early in the day.
“We get bulk orders for our ‘vote sweets’ and we are planning a lot of new items this time that will interest even the common buyer. After all, whether we say it or not, each of us is a political animal,” Mullick said.
There are some people who have bought both ‘Khela Hobe’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’ sweets, just for fun. Retired banker Malabika Chatterjee is one of them. “I love sweets and am always trying to have anything that is new. I am loving this sweet war, because only sweets win in the end,” she said.