A lot has changed in Asan during the last six decades Padma Kaji Tuladhar, 65, has been running a shop at this historic bazaar. But then, a lot has remained the same too.
“When I took up the dried fruit business some four decades ago, Kathmandu was a lot smaller and, of course, there were far fewer shoppers. Now the number has shot up, but shopping habits remain largely the same,” said Tuladhar.
The local Newar inhabitants have been engaged in business here since ancient times. Tuladhar’s family is from the same clan that was among the first to start a dried fruit business almost a century ago in Asan, a traditional shopping neighbourhood in the heart of Kathmandu.
Giving an example of his own shop where he sells various dried fruits and other seasonal condiments, Padma said he has seen an increase in the number of customers buying the same old goods in larger quantities for festivals like Tihar.
“People buy a lot these days, especially during the festive season, and it looks more like a fad than need,” Tuladhar said. “Asan is a prime business centre for daily commodities.”
As always, Asan remains an unavoidable shopping destination, popularly described as the market where one can find anything from “noon” (salt) to “soon” (gold). “Why would I go to other places when I can find at Asan all the things I need for the celebration of all festivals and also for daily consumption?” said Shila Neupane of Old Baneshwor.
Sanu Bajracharya was busy selling earthen lamps in a jam-packed Asan on Tuesday. He said sales of the traditional lamps were fair with children pestering their parents to buy them for their home.
“Nowadays, people prefer electric lamps to traditional earthen lamps. But children are the ones who are more interested in these traditional utensils,” Sanu said. It is also interesting to note that sales of readymade marigold garlands have been increasing with time.
Over the years, Asan has seen an increase in the number of shops. People who have been observing the bustling market square with interest feel that there are more stores now due to the partitioning of family property. That might not be a concern for the shoppers who throng Asan; but many merchants like Ratna Lal Shakya, a vendor of utensils, have expressed dismay that their children are not following their ancestral occupation, and that people of other communities have slowly started taking over the business.
Posted on: 2012-11-14 09:57