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Sun shines on shoppers

The sunny sky that Sunanda Roy woke up to on Wednesday was the best news she could have hoped for on a holiday after almost a week of intermittent rain washed out her Puja shopping plans.

Sunanda, a 22-year-old from Shyambazar, called her friend Sayantani Biswas in the morning and the duo were spotted at New Market a couple of hours later.

“We had planned a New Market shopping spree on Sunday but it was a washout. The weather is warm today but never mind,” said Sunanda, a student of Maulana Azad College.

As the sun showed up on Gandhi Jayanti, so did the shoppers who were cooped up at home during the rainy weekend.

The weather office said the sun would shine on Calcutta for at least the next two days because the low pressure that brought 108mm of rain to the city has weakened upon landfall. Satellite images show no new weather system brewing over the Bay of Bengal.

On the flip side, the sun sent the mercury up by four notches to 33.5 degrees Celsius.

The city enjoyed below-30 temperatures on Monday and Tuesday as the curtain of cloud kept the Celsius down.

But shoppers were determined to sweat it out. Brothers Rajdeep, 23, and Ratnadeep Bose, 20, of Behala had shelved their plans twice over the weekend to meet friends Adrish Halder from Dum Dum and Trinakshi Saha, a Class XII student at Pratt Memorial, at the all-weather South City Mall.

“It had rained at strategic times in the afternoon and evening. Last Sunday we planned to go shopping but abandoned it at the last minute. Last night too we feared that the weather may not hold, but the morning unrolled a different day. Bright and sunny! I called up my friends and here we are… at South City,” said Rajdeep.

They were among the thousands who filled the marts and malls desperate to wrap up their Puja shopping.

The Gariahat and New Market sidewalks recorded the maximum footfall, a sea of shoppers patiently waiting for the policemen to lower the ropes to cross the roads and for their turn at the hawkers and shop counters.

Among them were Joydeep Mazumdar, wife Debasree, the kids and sister-in-law Pampa. He said it took loads of coolants — ice cream and juice — to keep the family going in the Gariahat rush.

The rush was extremely high as expected in the Metro. “I thought we will never be able to get out of the train at Esplanade station as a surge of people elbowed into the compartment. My wife and I somehow managed to get out but got bruised,” said Pradip Chowdhury of Kaikhali showing his battle scars.

Metro authorities said Calcutta’s favourite transport system carried four lakh passengers till 6pm on Wednesday.