MOST OF our traditions have been lost over the years. Theyhave been replaced or at least blended with consumerism and commercial culture. Today, Onam is not much of a private family affair. The ambience of togetherness has changed to a show of pomp and grandeur.
Let's begin shopping, with the traditional Kasavu mundu and Kasavu sari. If you're on a shoestring budget, you could pick up something that suits your taste from the Hantex- Handloom showrooms, which are offering a 20-25 per cent discount. The Balaramapuram handloom shops have good Kasavu mundus. The shops near the Chenthitta temple have silk saris and Kancheevarams. They are affordable as well. Or you could shop at any of the leading sari showrooms in the city. Parthas, Aiyappas and Alappat Silks have the latest in Kancheevarams and Kasavu saris. Shirts (of well-known brands such as Zodiac, Louis Philippe and Color Plus) and salwar- kameez (brands such as A-line and V-Star) are also available.
Here's the list of the major shopping spots in the city:
Tamarind and Oxemberg shirts are being offered at discount prices. There's a 50 per cent discount on Tamarind shirts. Georgettes in greens, pastels and maroons are on the racks if salwar material is what you're looking for.
Kancheevarams, Lucknowi Chikan saris, Venkatagiri and Pochampilli top the list of shoppers. The `in' colours are chilli red, bottle green and maroon.
Add some shimmer to your wardrobe with dubion work saris and sequinned chiffons. Crepe silk with hand embroidery and aari work come at Rs. 2,600 and above.
Black georgettes embellished with motifs in zardosi are priced at Rs. 2,500, Impal Kosa from Varanasi has a price tag of Rs. 2,700, Jamdani silks cost Rs. 7,500 while Kanchi Kalakshetra hand embroidery saris can be bought for Rs. 3,000. Sambalpuri silks from Orissa come at Rs. 4,500 and above. The shades for the season are mauves, pastels, peaches, liril green, lovebird's yellow, lavender and ivory. There are cotton and synthetic cotton saris starting from Rs. 99, and Bengal handlooms that are priced at Rs. 280 and above. The kiddies' section has colourful shirts and pretty skirts for toddlers. The clothes section for men features world leaders such as Louis Philippe. Ordinary belts are priced at Rs. 200 upward and Bulchee's leather belts cost Rs. 400 upward.
The Wills Lifestyle Store has a well-organised range of clothes that include casual, party and office wear. The fabrics are cotton-lycra blends, yet don't have the stiffness of pure cotton. Clean simple lines and effective detailing give the clothes a casual, trendy look.
Have you men given a thought to your clothes? Any number of brands is available in the bazaar. For casual wear shirts and T-shirts, do a bit of window-shopping across the city first before making the final choice.
The Karalkada has a good collection of kasavu mundu and set saris, priced at Rs. 275 upwards. The price tag is definitely higher than that of other shops, but the quality of kasavu here is worth the bill you foot.
Cottons, kottas and block printed saris are priced at around Rs. 300, Bandhinis in crepe silk cost Rs. 2,500 and above, while Chikan work saris are priced at Rs. 350 and above. Bengal handlooms are available at Rs. 295 and Chanderis at Rs. 1,050. Light colours are in, be it Kancheevarams or chiffons.
`Hollywood', is touted as the biggest footwear mall in the city. The saving grace is the handbags' section, which carry a hefty price tag. Bata's gents and ladies' casual footwear last long. Chappals too are on sale here.
Boots and Kings have a fairly decent collection of footwear. The Attukal Mall could be a stopover for shopping, be it footwear, salwars or artefacts. If you're looking for inexpensive footwear, hop over to Chalai and take a look at the footwear in the wholesale shops.
Add some colour to your wardrobe
Variety, Style Plus and the new Jewel Hut on M.G. Road have fancy chains, bangles and earrings.
Variety has a good collection of fancy bangles, as does Style Plus, but if the prices scare you, don't fret! Rush off to Palayam's Connemara market and check out the exquisite glass bangles and bindis in the tiny shops there. Jewel Hut is the latest store in the city; it has nice sequinned handbags.
Funky bead chains are also available. The store has pretty ear-studs and chokers from Estelle.
If you have tons of patience and lots of energy, feel free to scourge the shops in East Fort. If money is not a problem and you wish to add a touch of elegance to your wardrobe, try out the Oyzterbay collection and Collection `g'. These are worth every rupee you spend. Oyzterbay has a more affordable range of accessories. Choose what suits you, and do not `overdress' unless you wish to end up looking like a Christmas tree with trimmings, spangles et al!
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