Sunday showers, triggered by a low-pressure trough stretching from the Tamil Nadu coast to Bengal, punctuated serious Puja shopping with only four pre-festive weekends to go.
The weather office warned that the rainfall would carry on for “at least 24 hours”.
The sunny morning did not show the day for the shopping brigade who stepped out in numbers post-noon.
At New Market, a group made a beeline for a hawker selling umbrellas on Bertram Street to save their festive finery from the sharp shower.
Some desperate shoppers covered their heads with their shopping bags and ran for extra cover. There were many who barely managed to start their Puja shopping before the rain played spoiler.
“Today I had plans of going for a movie and shopping but everything was marred because of the rain. Last Sunday too I had to postpone my shopping plans because of the rain. Weekends are the only time when one can shop,” rued Anisha Dey, who works in a consultancy firm.
Chitra Ghosh had come from Kalyani along with daughter Arnabi to shop at New Market. “The rain marred our plans. We’ll have to come again all the way from Kalyani as we weren’t able to buy most of the things today,” said Chitra.
The rain took its toll on the pre-festive footfall at Gariahat, which where the flood of shoppers was reduced to a trickle. Although the rain stopped by 6pm, its effect lingered.
“I would’ve been here much before but got delayed because of the rain. I haven’t managed to buy anything because my mother’s slippers snapped and she is getting it repaired,” said Senjuti Banerjee, a college student.
But Mousumi Sarkar, who works in a software company, was more upbeat: “Puja comes once a year so the rain can’t spoil my shopping plans. I got drenched and my sandal broke but chalta hai,” she smiled.
Sunday had begun warm and sultry with the mercury hovering above 35 degrees Celsius. The skies darkened around noon. Thunder and rain followed soon after.
The distribution of rain was skewed once again. The Alipore weather office recorded 33.6mm of rain till 5.30pm but some other parts received considerably more rainfall between 2pm and 5pm, while some pockets of north Calcutta remained quite dry.
The Met office predicted more rain on Monday as the low-pressure trough was likely to remain for at least 24 hours. “The low-pressure area on the Tamil Nadu coast has formed a low pressure trough and is causing rain. Because of the trough, moisture incursion will continue on Monday,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, the director of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore.
There is, however, no low-pressure area in the Bay of Bengal near the Bengal coast and so heavy rain is not expected. The third week of September is usually when the monsoon withdraws from the city.