Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Durga Puja shopping was the highlight of our clothing-calendar when we were young. One new dress for birthdays, one for Poila Baisakh (Bengali New Year), but Durga Puja (the biggest religious/social/cultural event for Bengalis) meant many, many new clothes, gifted by various uncles, aunts and grandparents.

But the catch was, you often got stuck with stuff that you wore only once (in front of the said uncle/aunt/grandparent, so as to soothe his/her sensibilities). As we entered our teens, we became more style-conscious and praise from the said uncle/aunt/grandparent, “Baah, ki sundar manieyechhe tokey” (How nicely the outfit is suiting you!), was no longer enough.

Clothes had to be trendy, peer-friendly and, most importantly, self-chosen. Which is why we (my cousin-cum-close-friend J and I) decided to take matters into our own hands when we were all of fifteen and decided to ask for cash gifts from our relations for the Durga Puja shopping.
Armed with our stash of cash and loads of attitude, we intrepidly boarded the red L-20 bus which took us from suburban Barrackpore straight to New Market, the shopper’s paradise in the heart of urban Kolkata.

Tirelessly roaming the alleys and bylanes (giving the bigger shops a miss), searching for the trendiest and tiniest (it was our mini-skirt phase) export-rejects in the hole-in-the corner shops, powered by exhilaration and egg-rolls (chicken-roll for J, who is allergic to eggs), we spent a very happy afternoon snapping up clothes at clothes-pin-prices. I remember buying a denim slit-skirt for Rs. 40, rainbow peep-toes for Rs 35, and a bateau-neck, embroidered top for Rs. 10! Of course, it helped that we were both reed-thin, as teenagers are wont to be.

Laden with bags of merchandise and merriment (I had ten white plastic bags, one for each finger), we returned home, totally giddy with shopaholism.

It was a wonderful Puja, parading our new outfits to the admiration of the local guys and the envy of our gal-pals!



J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I loathe shopping. So I have NO empathy with this post. On a similar note, it's "calendAr".
Your's in ill-temper,


Anonymous said...

Yes, Holi/Diwali always new clothes.
Visiting tailor and telling him to stitch one plate trousers and showing him the design of Aamir Khan, english model trousers design and new new my innovative designs. That was exciting.
I always prefer tailor than readymades
Those were the days...

Anonymous said...

But if I visit Delhi I love to market at Janpath and streets near connaught place.
Shirts only for Rs. 100-125 and not to forget for jeans Mohan Singh Place. Mohan Singh Place shops prepare jeans in 1 hours time.
Amazing and cheap too...
I love delhi market.
Karol Bag is also good.
I never market in mumbai. May be I find Delhi cheaper. I am a simple man and love to wear street clothes but yes trousers I love to be prepared by tailors.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

oops JAP,
I guess shopping is not your cup of tea (or coffee, if I correctly recall my Eliot...measuring life in coffee-spoons). As for the spell-error, thanks and I stand corrected and penitent.

Thanks for the shopping tips, Hobo.
I'll use them if I ever visit Delhi. as os now, it's mumbai (and kolkata) for me.

lopamudra said...

I remember our shopping in gariahat.How we found those hole in the corner shops which offered amazing stuff in amazingly low price and more importantly amazingly thin we were!

eve's lungs said...

i hate puja shopping- crowds and jostling and pulling at the same saree .
But I love the pre puja weather now and shall soon post .
Are you in Cal during the pujas ?