The showdown between showers and shoppers on Sunday turned out in favour of the latter as thousands thronged the city streets to make the most of the pre-Independence Day sales.
The weathermen warned of more rain in and around Kolkata in the next 24 hours and a super wet Independence Day on Tuesday, but on Sunday the buyers brigade couldn’t care less.
Hours after a smart shower in the afternoon left several streets flooded, the likes of Haldia resident Kuntal Mukherjee and his family were walking around New Market to catch the best deals for Durga Puja in the pre-Independence Day offers. “This is the best time to buy new garments for Puja as all brands and stores offer discounts of anything between 30% to 70% on MRP. I never miss this opportunity to buy some quality branded products at half the price,” said Mukherjee, grappling with a bunch of shopping bags.
The scene was the same at other shopping hubs in the city, including Gariahat and Camac Street. Around noon, a heavy shower had dampened the shopping spree. But once the rain stopped, Kolkatans came back out and the shopping hubs saw footfalls soaring.
Rushing up the stairs of Esplanade Metro, Behala residents Dharamraj Pandey and his wife Kuntala spared no thought to the spells of rain and were only interested in making the most of the offers before their departure to Cape Town, South Africa, where he works as a mine supervisor. “I want to finish the Puja shopping today and buy something for all my family members and give it to them before we head back to Cape Town,” said Pandey.
“Every year, we witness a huge rush during the Independence Day sales week. This year the scene is no different. The rush was little less in the morning and afternoon because of the rain, but by evening, there was hardly enough space for people to stand inside the store,” said an official of a multi-brand outlet on Camac Street.
The Met office said the nagging weekend rain could be a prelude to a wet Independence Day. The monsoon trough is likely to turn towards Gangetic West Bengal by Tuesday triggering more rain in Kolkata. “We expect the monsoon trough currently positioned above the foothills of Himalayas to inch towards the Bengal coast and station over this region by Tuesday. In such a case, rainfall activity will increase in south Bengal, including Kolkata,” said G K Das, director (weather) at Regional Meteorological Centre, Kolkata.
Next Friday could bring a partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thundershowers in some areas, said a source.