Kolkata rushes to shop for Puja before third wave hits – Times of India

Kolkata News
It was a hectic Saturday for Mousumi Sen and her family. It was almost as if they were racing against time to wrap up Puja shopping in a day so that they wouldn’t have to venture out again, what with a probability of a third wave hanging overhead like the sword of Damocles. They visited two malls, Esplanade and Gariahat since the morning and even ate out. “We left home before 9 am to reach a mall by 10 am. We planned to complete the shopping today so that we wouldn’t have to visit markets again,” Mousumi said.
That’s exactly how most Kolkatans seem to be thinking right now. And that’s evident from the Puja shopping crowds at malls and markets.

Shoppers keen to avoid crowds & beat the third wave
As experts have predicted that the Covid-19 third wave will peak in October and November, the shoppers don’t want to take any chances. We spotted Rohit Chowdhury and Roshni Das, both students, on Lindsay Street checking out ornamental shoes. “We started shopping last week because you never know what will happen and when the next lockdown will be enforced,” Rohit told us. On the other hand, Howrah-based Priyanka and Prerna Jain wanted to complete their shopping early because they wanted to avoid crowded markets.
Surupa Deb, a young entrepreneur, who is all set to start a café near Golpark, said she doesn’t want to rush at the last moment. “Besides, the markets get too crowded from the last week of August,” she said.

Online shopping fatigue
Online shopping has been the lifeline for many since March 2020. But now, people seem to be developing what can be described as online shopping fatigue. Nayanika Sanyal, an entrepreneur who we met at Gariahat looking for a dupatta for her new salwar suit, said, “I just wanted to get out of the house. I’ve taken both vaccine shots and so wanted to do some real shopping. Frankly, I am enjoying every bit of it. I am bargaining, asking for more varieties and doing everything we used to do in the good old days. Must say, this feels normal,” she said while adjusting her mask.
Sandip and Shruti Khandelwal, who we met in front of a south Kolkata mall, expressed similar emotions. “Online shopping has its own perks, but it can’t beat the fun of physical shopping. I must add here that I took the opportunity and enjoyed pani puri after almost after six months,” said Shruti, who runs a construction company along with her husband Sandip.
Shoppers are not just buying garments. At Hogg Market, we spotted a lot of them buying curtains and showpieces. “This was long overdue. After spending months working from home, I really need to change the look of my house. So, even before clothes, I’m buying new curtains, lampshades and cushion covers,” said Tania Bhatia, an IT employee who lives in a rented apartment in New Town.

Traders a happy lot
Clearance sales are drawing crowds too, as several brands and shops have started clearing their stocks ahead of the festive shopping season. Anup Sharma, a garment trader at AC Market, said “We are mostly clearing last year’s stocks and it’s helping us do good business. I’ve also ordered new stocks,” he said, adding, “Puja shopping usually starts from the third week of August. But this year, it has started from the first week itself. These extra few days would make a big difference for us.”
The traders at New Market are, however, not entirely happy. They said a huge portion of their buyers used to come from Bangladesh. The pandemic has changed that. “Many Bangladeshi traders used to buy from us to sell back home. Sales was especially good ahead of Eid. So, until the Bangladeshi return, our business will not be the same,” said Md Parvez, an ornamental shoe seller on Lindsay Street.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/kolkata-rushes-to-shop-for-puja-before-third-wave-hits/articleshow/85564272.cms