By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 28 October 2021: Leaving aside the tough Covid-19 lockouts of 2020 and 2021, Melbourne’s Little India ethnic enclave is all set to celebrate and see a shopping spree during this year’s Diwali- the festival of lights. With the last Covid-19 lockout almost over, this exclusive and beautiful piece of India and South Asia in Australia has a lot of hustle-bustle laced with true festive ambiance.
Shops are full of Diwali goodies. Colorful Indian readymades, sparkles, diyas (earthen lamps), Namkin (salty snacks), fresh Methai (Indian sweets), gift items, and pre-packed sweets from India, are some which can be shopped here. Mr. Harry of ‘India Bazaar’ tells me the festival shopping is on and he is expecting more special Diwali items any day. Mr. Hitesh of ‘Dulhan’ is surrounded by Indian Curtas, Lenghas, ladies suits, and whatnot. The Victorian government has allowed physical shopping to kick off again from Friday at 6 pm (29 October 2021), and Hitesh plans to welcome customers for a few hours then.
Indian sweets are a delicacy with so much variety. Those with a sweet tooth will have many field days. No doubt, the four odd Sweet shops – Calcutta Sweets, Taste of Jaipur, Bikaner Sweets, and Punjab Sweets are hectically preparing fresh sweets to beat the Diwali rush. Some of the tasty sweets include barfi, ladoo, cham cham, jalebi, to name a few. When you buy this stuff, it will be packed in special boxes. One can see them piled up in the shops.
As I visit the Taste of Jaipur, Sanjay is making cham cham and he proudly shows me the white sweet with sugar syrup. Sharmaji of Calcutta Sweets, as usual, was busy in the kitchen supervising the Diwali preparations.
Of course, one can also celebrate Diwali by having a Diwali feast with tasty Indian freshly cooked food. Through this year’s Diwali shopping Little India could see an unprecedented bounceback in business. These businesses suffered during the lockouts, this Diwali and other coming festivals are expected to bring back the charm and glow to this exclusive cultural and business precinct.
Melbourne’s Little India is in Foster Street, Greater Dandenong, Victoria, and adjacent to the Dandenong station.