One of the several elements that represent the harvest festival of Onam is the pookkalam. But gone are the days when people would venture into their own garden to pick flowers or stroll through the neighbourhood to collect them.
As Malayalis went from living in joint families to nuclear family setups and subsequently apartments, picking flowers to adorn their doorsteps with colourful pookkalams does not seem to be the top most priority anymore.
This year, a Wayanad-based online store, is selling flower packages online for Onam to customers across Kerala.
Green Food Market (GFM) has introduced a 10-day flower package in its online store. The package costs Rs 2,700, which includes delivery charges. The Onam special package called â€śRainbowâ€ť has flowers of seven different varieties, marigold and globe amaranth (vaadamalli) included.
3.5 kg of flowers are delivered each day to customers and this quantity is sufficient to make a small pookkalam. Since itâ€™s a 10-day package, orders will not be taken for individual days.
It was last year that GFM introduced the Onam kit which contains rice, turmeric and spices apart from vegetables.
This year, prior to the festival, they asked their customers whether they would also like to buy flowers online. And the response they received was mostly positive.
â€śSince Wayanad is a border district, we get flowers from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu at a cheaper rate. We felt that not only could we deliver it to our customers, we could also manage a pretty good profit margin,â€ť Satheesh Babu, one of the directors of GFM, said.
He added that even with delivery charges, the package is a good deal for customers.
The online store received 25 orders from existing customers on Atham or the first day of the 10-day festive period, Satheesh said.
He also stated that since their products are delivered within a few hours of the order being placed, customers need not worry about the vegetables or flowers getting spoiled.
Started in 2013, the online store primarily sells vegetables and has a customer base in Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
Satheesh, along with three others, founded GFM as an e-shopping website initially. However, following stiff competition from Amazon and other big e-retail giants, they switched to delivering vegetables.