Get set for rain-dressing
`Raindrops falling on my head.......la la la laaa lala"... goes a popular romantic song. With life an unending shower now, VINITHA NAIDU finds shelter under psychedelic umbrellas and fluorescent raincoats.
THE SOUTHWEST monsoons have finally stopped their hide-and-seek game and turned their taps on full blast, drenching Kerala. Good news for the whole country but not for a Kochiite who has to wade through pools and puddles to get to offices, schools, supermarkets and hospitals every day. A lifetime of conditioning and exposure to such forces of nature has made the Malayali remarkably resilient with the sturdy black umbrella occupying pride of position. While black still rules, a rainbow of colours has captured the imagination of both young and old.
Shops all over Kochi are selling rain gear in a variety of mind boggling colours and designs. MG Road on the rainy morning is a sea of colour with purples, reds, oranges, blues, pinks, greens and all the shades in between. Raincoats for children are now available in fluorescent colours with brands like Tropical manufacturing coats with koala bears, stars, stripes etc. Priced from Rs 265 onwards, they seem to be adding colour to these kids' lives.
"Between April and July, we get a lot of customers who go for these raincoats. Since it is priced reasonably it is selling well," said Fazal of Bawas, Broadway. Most shops stock raincoats from well known brands like Duckback and the lesser known local ones that can be got at cheaper rates. A word of caution, it's always better to opt for a branded item since the quality and material is guaranteed. Raincoats from Duckback come in standard solid shades of blue, brown, red and gray and are popular for their durability and strength. Priced between Rs 600-1000, they are on the expensive side. "We find that the gent's model of Duckback raincoats sell more in our shop," said a salesman at Kings Shoe Mart.
Most school kids dread monsoons not only for the muddy waters that makes their uniforms dirty, but for the havoc it creates inside their school bags. The rush for waterproof school bags has led manufacturers to emphasise this quality in their products. Nowadays, everything from nursery bags to college bags to hand bags carry this ubiquitous tag - 100% WATER PROOF.
The Scoobee Day brand of bags comes with many compartments and is priced from Rs 115 upwards. "As my daughter has just started school, we wanted a school bag that is both durable and attractive. When we went to school, we did not have so much of choice," says Mrs. Sheela Kurien of Kaloor.
This is a sentiment expressed by a majority of shoppers on Broadway and MG Road. We saw a range of Harry Potter bags that is cashing in on the Potter mania. Priced at Rs 140, it comes in bright colours of orange, green, red and black. For teenyboppers, there are some cool flap bags costing between Rs 80-500 in waterproof material just like the ones VJs sport on hep music channels. Stay dry and cool with these show stealers.
With newspapers and doctors debating the issue of children carrying huge backpacks to school, the Scoobee Day bag manufacturers have hit upon the idea of introducing bags with a trolley to carry those heavy books. Costing Rs 475, let's hope it takes a load off the young shoulders.
Water and leather should be kept as far away as possible. So this season ladies can opt for the satin finish handbags that shopkeepers claim are rain proof. "Our ladies handbags are priced between Rs 110-195 and very durable. A lot of ladies prefer to use these nowadays," said a sales man at Let's Wear. Sylcon on MG Road is doing roaring business in its waterproof handbags priced between Rs. 150 - 300. These handbags come in sober shades of browns and blacks.
Another casualty of rainy weather is shoes with most people opting for plastic or rubber versions. While this might bring to mind our faithful bathroom slippers, globalization means that stylized fancy rubber slippers from Thailand are available in Kochi. Goodwill Shoes on MG Road has a range of beach slippers made of rubber, which comes in cheerful orange, mint green, yellow with little flowers perched here and there. Priced between Rs 210-350 they are perfect for both indoor and outdoor wear.
"I find these slippers very comfortable and light and look very attractive with jeans also," said a teenage customer at the shop. For those who prefer the branded route, companies like Lotus Bawa, Lee Cooper, Gaitonde, Woodlands have a range of floaters for men priced Rs 1000 upwards. For ladies, brands like Madame Phoenix and Chips have shoes made of poly-urethane that are reputed to be water proof and they cost anywhere between Rs 300-500.While you are shopping for adequate footwear, check out the latest `Sundrops' collection at Bata. For ladies there are rubber slippers in combinations of purple and orange or blue and orange. The Bubblegummers range of footwear for kids features some adorable transparent plastic shoes in blues and pinks costing around Rs 59. Definitely for chasing those rainy blues away.
Last but not the least in the arsenal to stay dry this monsoon is the umbrella which must rate as the best invention this side of the world. Its evolution from the one stick black roof avatar to the automatic push button type with a tiger snarling on the top is amazing. Some of the more well known brands in Kochi for umbrellas are Popy's and John's. They come in both child and adult sizes. With children forming a large chunk of the market, manufacturers are adding colours and cartoon characters.
Colombo Umbrellas in Broadway is an exclusive umbrella retailing outlet which deals in one-fold, two-fold and three-fold varieties. Priced from Rs 99 upto Rs 160, they can be folded into your bag easily.
But the mind boggling range is in the fancy section where umbrellas with Dalmatian dogs, parrots, cats, teddy bears, pretty women, etc., beckon. Priced from Rs 75 onwards, there is something to suit everyone. If the harmful UV rays are bothering you, buy the umbrella with special double coated UV protection costing Rs 265 .
So gear up and make a splash this monsoon.
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