Same groceries, higher prices

Nusrat Nowrin | Update:

Asad Mia, a street vendor at Madhya Badda, Dhaka, depends on his own farming for Ramadan food items. Photo: Nusrat Nowrin

“Our maid came up with a long list for iftar preparations, but I only bought a few items,” says Shafi, 31, at the Prince Bazar outlet at Mirpur 12. He was buying onions, rice, flour, oil, chickpeas, and sugar from the super shop.

Shafi works at a private hospital in Mirpur. He said, “My flat mate and I are bachelors, so most of the time we have iftar outside. So we don’t need a lot of Ramadan groceries.”

The Prince Bazar shopkeeper said their shop was well stocked with Ramadan essentials.

Meghna, 28, was buying rice bran oil. She said, “I have bought brown rice and dates.” She had already done with buying spices, lentils, garlic, dried fruits in the first week of May. She said, “I’ll buy eggplant, milk, vegetables and fish later.”

Habiba Rita, 32, was buying dates from the Swapno outlet of Mahanagar Housing Society, Hatirjheel. A mother and a local boutique shop owner, Rita said, “My mother-in-law buys fresh vegetables from the street vendors as they come to the doorstep”.

Abdur Rahim, a seller at the Karwan Bazar kitchen market, busy selling spices. Photo: Nusrat NowrinFatema Baishakhi, 21, a student of Jagannath University said she didn’t buy much other than rice, flour, oil, etc. She said, “I went to buy dates today, but the prices are out reach. And anyway, the dates didn’t seem all that good.” She shares a flat in Azimpur. Like many students of Dhaka, she faces problems with sehri and iftar during the month.

The head of communications at super shop Swapno, Tamim Ahmed, said over phone, they had been very busy with Ramadan preparations. The Mahanagar Housing Society outlet manager said, several varieties of category dates, dal, rice have been stored along with various beverages.

Shafi Alam (second from right), like many bachelors of Dhaka, has iftar with colleagues or friends during Ramadan. Photo: CollectedAt the Segun Bagicha outlet of Agora, Mousumi, 35, said she had shopped double her usual shopping for the holy month.

Kitchen markets are humming with Ramadan shopping. Abdur Rahim, 40, was buying ground spices from Karwan Bazar and was carrying a heavy bag of onions. They shopkeeper and customer both laughed as this reporter asked them their names. Both of them were named Rahim! Both of the Rahims were happy selling and buying Ramadan groceries.

Abdur Rahim, 40, was buying ground spices from Karwan Bazar and was carrying a heavy bag of onions. Photo: Nusrat NowrinAsad Mia, 63, a vendor from Madhya Badda, said he would be spending Ramadan at his village in Bajitpur, Kishoreganj. “The harvest from our own land will do for sehri and iftar.” They grow their own rice, chickpeas, cucumbers and so on.

Sufia Sultana, 45, a shopper at the Meena Bazar outlet on Gulshan Avenue sums up the spirit of Ramadan groceries, “It’s almost the same items for years, nothing special only except the increase in prices every year.”

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