T. Nagar, Old Washermenpet and Purasawalkam were chock-a-block on weekend before Deepavali
It was manic Sunday shopping for many on Monegar Choultry Road (M.C. Road) in Old Washermenpet, Usman Road in T. Nagar, and Purasawalkam High Road, as thousands thronged to shop for Deepavali, on the last weekend before the festival.
Traffic and pedestrians fought for space on the roads in T. Nagar. “It is very difficult to drive in this traffic as there are people walking among the vehicles. This is my fifth trip to T. Nagar today and business has been good so far,” said Sebastian, an autorickshaw driver.
Many families were seen finishing their last-minute shopping on Sunday. P.P. Maragatham, a resident of West Mambalam, said that despite the crowds, she shopped on Sunday as she worked and could not get a weekday off. “The crowd is bad as always,” she said.
P. Manimaran, a vendor in T. Nagar for 30 years now, however said business had not been as good as it was last year. “The cost of children’s clothes has gone up from last year. Spending has also been less compared to last year as families would rather spend on essential goods,” he said.
Other shopkeepers, like flower vendor M. Karpagam, too, echoed his sentiment. “Earlier it used to be a practice for people to buy flowers whenever they bought a saree. That tradition has died now,” she said.
However, there are those who enjoyed walking in the crowd and eating cut fruits and masala puffed rice. Ethiraj, who works as an office boy, said he loved the crowd as it brought about a happy atmosphere. “I didn’t get a bonus and don’t mind not getting anything for myself. I am happy I can get what my children want,” he said. His Deepavali budget is Rs. 1,000 and he had already purchased clothes for Rs. 550.
Anticipating huge crowds, traffic changes were made in the shopping districts. A traffic policeman posted on Cemetery Road in Washermenpet said they had blocked entry of vehicles onto M.C. Road from Friday.
Kumar, another autorickshaw driver Washermenpet, said he had been plying more passengers over the past two to three days.
“Residents living in areas such as Royapuram, Washermenpet and Tiruvottiyur prefer to shop here than go to T. Nagar. With Deepavali just a few days ahead, people are hurrying to purchase new clothes. I am getting at least 10 passengers a day now owing to the festive season,” he said.
Purasawalkam too overflowed with people. Vehicles moved at a snail’s pace as shoppers thronged the area. Many of them desperately searched for parking spaces. Babu Ranganathan, who regularly shops in Puraswalkam for Deepavali, said, “The shops here offer plenty of choice and variety. I shop for my children here every Deepavali. But finding a space to park vehicles is a difficult task,” he said.