It's half past five on a sweltering Monday evening. And chattering excited women are in a mood to beat it. You spot only beaming faces everywhere invariably talking about saris. And why not? After all, this is the month of aadi – a dream month both for shopkeepers and shoppers.

Every shop, big or small in town, every old and new showroom opened in the city is crammed for space. Women are busy either discussing rare colours and designs they have already checked out in some other shop or which one would suit them, their daughters or daughters-in-law.

Some are even busy calculating the number of saris and dress materials they want for different occasions to come - from birthday to wedding anniversary, Deepavali to Pongal. There is a buzz all around during Aadi, once considered so very inauspicious. Today, Aadi has transformed itself into the best time of the year to go on a shopping binge. There is no dearth of exclusive stores or textile shops selling every woman's dream attire.

Narrow-lanes in market places are congested even on weekdays now. If one is lucky enough to find a safe parking place and then wading through the sea of humanity, one has to display ample patience and wait for her turn to grab a salesperson's attention. The rush at any hour is maddening. But once you find your space at the counter, you simply get lost in a maze of dazzling saris. And which woman would not love it?

Can there be a better pass time than to search for the favourite colour, perfect design and right discount offer?

Eyes scroll up and down the racks endlessly even as a heap of saris await your attention on the table. While having a look at these six yards of fancy drape, the enviable eyes never fail to glance at the adjacent table where other women are searching for their best pick. Then come those moments when you wait to grab other people's choice while many a time you choose a sari if somebody asks you ‘have you taken this' – with a sense of pride, you say ‘yes' and buy it because it has impressed the other woman. “A decade ago, aadi sale was synonymous with old-stock-clearance sale. If you are lucky, you could get a beautiful and quality sari that could stand the test of time. Typically, the Aadi sale is low margin profit, high volume affair,” says Tiruveni Muthukrishnan, a housewife.

“Now, it is different. Textile shops vie with each to offer both discounts and trendy designs that allure people to indulge,” she says.

No dearth of choice

There is no dearth of choice, whether it is in number of shops or choosing dress materials. Karthimari Selvakumar has checked out at least 10 shops before selecting her saris and dress materials. She has a list of parameters like colour, pattern, cost...and obviously settles for the best bet.

“I buy materials for the entire year - for anniversaries and festivals, besides as gifts for my relatives, she notes, adding she saves money exclusively for ‘aadi' purchase. S. Padma bought a dozen saris as she loves wearing a new sari every month.

Ranging from litchi print saris to gorgeous stone-studded designer saris offer a tough choice to women to choose from. Every sari is unique and screams elegance. Take the case of silk saris introduced at Pothys this year. They have pockets for ipods with speakers hidden in zari work. These musical saris come for Rs.46,000.

Unique designs

Then there is the ‘light' sari for Rs.62,000. Only one exclusive piece that was instantly sold out. It had small battery-operated bulbs meshed in the sari's exquisite embroidery work. Or for that matter the sandalwood sari for Rs.35,000 which emanates the soothing aroma of ‘chandan'.

Art lovers can have Meenakshi Tirukalyanam scene or veena embroidered in unique colour combinations on the pallu done in heavy kundan and zardosi work.

Talking about churidar sets, the month's hot pick are the netted-sleeves. College girls are swarming with friends to pick them, while also scouring patiala-pants and shawls for mix' n' match sets. “It is the problem of plenty and we need a lot of time to think and choose. I do not want to repeat the design and colour already in my wardrobe,” laughs S. Asha.

J. Sheela wants to buy materials for Christmas and New Year. “The sari which we buy for Rs.500 during peak festival season is available for Rs.250 now. I always save for aadi purchase,” she says.

Kavitha Arivudaiyanambi is different as she prefers to buy in Co-optex showrooms believing in a very philanthropic reason: “It will surely light a smile on the face of the beleaguered weavers.”

All shops offer aadi discount between five and 50 percent on selected varieties and materials. Co-optex offers between 20 and 50 percent on selected items at selected showrooms.

“It is better to go alone shopping on weekdays to choose items at leisure,” quips Renuka.

This year, aadi has no trace of recession. It was evident with scrambling crowd in textile and jewellery shops as well, again rush is for discounts. Inauspicious aadi is passé. Attractive discounts offered by showrooms make it impossible even for a conservative buyer to defer purchase.

Keywords: Aadi saleshopping