It’s that time of year again when NRIs come down for a break. Apart from friends and family, shops too prepare for their visit

For the Malayali diaspora in the Gulf, the July-September quarter is about meeting and catching up with family and friends. It is also a time to splurge and stock up on the latest in clothes and jewellery. The ‘NRI festivals’ put together by some outlets in the city aims to celebrate this homecoming of non-resident Indians (NRI). And they are rolling out the red carpet.

Sheila James, proprietor of, ‘Czarina’, General Hospital Junction, has been holding an ‘NRI Fest’ at her store for the past six years. According to Sheila, she plans for the season well in advance so that she can arrange a line that meets with the requirements of the NRIs.

This year, as there are quite a few festivals coming up in August, her collection has a wide range of saris and salwar-kurtas to usher in the festive mood. At prices ranging from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000, one can choose from a variety of party wear. A fabric to watch out for this season, according to Sheila, is silk kota. “These saris, which are both comfortable and dressy, come in lovely shades of blue, red, orange and mustard; printed and plain variants are available,” she says. In addition, the boutique has a wedding range and a collection of ready-to-wear and unstitched fabrics.

Ethnic Weaves, Paruthipara, has a special collection for NRIs too. If you fancy traditional wear, the store has an eye-catching range of Kancheepurams, Gadhwals and silk cottons. dekho. These popular silks have been given a modern twist and value addition with block prints. While designer Kancheepurams cost between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 25,000, Gadhwals and silk cottons are available at prices starting from Rs. 1,800. Benares silks, tussar silks, silk kotas, Mangalgiri and Chettinad cottons, salwar-kurtas and beautiful dupattas form part of the NRI collection.

To attract customers, Bhima has introduced special discounts and a year’s free insurance cover on diamonds. They have also introduced a special line of antique jewellery in Mughal and temple designs. Says Suhas Rao, managing director, Bhima Jewellery: “This season, we are offering a special discount of Rs. 4,000 per carat of diamond and a 25 per cent discount on making charge of antique jewellery.” He finds the response to this year’s fete better than last year.

Unlike the Onam season, which sees crowds in all stores, the NRI Fest is much more relaxed. Kunjumol Cyriac, proprietor, Ethnic Weaves, finds the annual fete, “a time to meet up with familiar faces, as most of the NRIS who frequent the store, come every year.” She adds: “It is an interesting season; it allows talking and socialising with customers, unlike Onam. It is a time to build new relations.”