The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rainy day blues and dos

City attendance roster:

Writers' Buildings: 60 per cent

CMC headquarters: 65 per cent

IT department: 100 per cent

INOX (for Parineeta): close to 100 per cent

The monsoon, which made a mega entry over the weekend and gave the city a severe bout of Monday morning blues, has had a mixed impact on Calcutta's activity index. And the action versus inaction divide is along the lines of new age versus age old.

The dark clouds cast a shadow over the two red buildings, where attendance figures failed to cross the 70 per cent mark. The state's seat of governance, Writers' Buildings, led by lethargic example with around 6,000 employees signing in and adda being the order of the rainy day.

Attendance was poor in the CMC offices throughout the city. 'Attendance in the main building on SN Banerjee Road was around 65 per cent, and even lower in the other buildings,' admitted municipal secretary Sajal Bhowmik. The oath-taking of new councillors over, the CMC headquarters emptied out by 3.30 pm.

The roster wore a different look in the new economy driven by information, communication and entertainment. G.D. Gautama, principal secretary, IT, boasted a 100 per cent attendance at the department's office on Camac Street, mirroring the '24x7 environment in the sector'.

House full was also a popular sign at all the three multiplexes in the city, that registered record footfall on rain-swept Sunday.

While INOX (Forum) had 5,569 people queueing up at the four screens, there were 5,235 viewers at INOX (City Centre). The footfall count at 89 Cinemas was also an all-time high at 4,758. 'Between Parineeta, Paheli, Sarkar and War of the Worlds, you have audiences for all kinds of movies,' said Prashant Srivastava, general manager of 89 Cinemas.

The mall mood, too, was not dampened by the monsoon. The one-stop entertainment nature of the mall and seasonal offers galore drove traffic to Forum and 22, Camac Street. 'Once you are inside the secure environment of the mall, all entertainment options are at your disposal,' said Ujjal, general manager, Forum, explaining consumer behaviour witnessed over the wet weekend.

At 22, Camac Street, Pantaloons continued doing brisk business, with jeans and T-shirts topping the buying basket, followed by the rainwear line introduced last week, said Manish Agarwal, zonal manager.

There was no letting up in school-going zeal, either, with the likes of Apeejay, Don Bosco and Heritage recording 'normal attendance'.

Taking a hit in the e-zone were the amusement parks under open skies. 'The number of daily visitors drops to around one-third during the rains,' rued a spokesperson for Nicco Park.

But slowing down the city the most were the familiar follies ' mess (potholes and traffic chaos) and michhil (SUCI on Monday) on the streets.

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