Thursday, 26 September 2013

A Shopaholic's Journal

Hi buddies!
With the undercurrent of festivities in every respect in the winds of Kolkata and the hearts of every bengali allover the world,it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the upcoming festivals.Closely follwing the durga pujas,it is the laxmi puja,then diwali(kali puja for bengalis),then "bhai-fota" and what not!
The whole annual calendar seems to be burdened by more festivals and celebration than the number of days!Being a bengali,this is more of a confession that we need just a occasion to celebrate and have fun.Be it the durga puja or Eid or Christmas we are always ready to celebrate the day.And of course,celebrations are almost always accompanied by new clothes,accesories,jeweleries,cosmetics,and the list is just endless.By the time one realize,the purse becomes empty.Everytime we think that "its enough",something or the other item required crops up in our mind and becomes a absolute necessity in no time..
I have never been much of a shopaholic.In fact a couple of years back I hardly ever shopped.I would randomly pick up any apparel of my size and any jewellery in the nearest shop which has become a acquainted destination.Going beyond that limits,combing through the city for finding the best of things in the least of price seemed a huge headache.I was first introduced to the streets and "happening" destinations of Kolkata by my boyfriend on our dates.He is just my opposite when it comes to dressing sense.While I would randomly pick up anything that fits my size averagely usually from shops like Max,BIg bajaar where every piece has at least 20 more duplicates in various size he would search for days even for the perfect fitting shirt,in the most unique and flattering checks that would suit him the best.Really some pateince he has got! :P
Going out with him slowly transformed my ideas about fashion as well which was limited within the air conditioned mall.It is because I soon discovered that some of the streets of Kolkta in particular provides us much more options and variations compared to the malls.
My today's update is,as u can guess,about all these infamous streets and alleys of Kolkata.I won't claim myself an expert on this matter.In fact compared to many calcuttan beauties,I am really a novice specially since I am not really in love with the experience of roaming the streets and window shopping in the humidity of Kolkata and pushing through the crowds. But I do hope this might be helpful to those who are even more novice about the streets of Kolkata.
North Kolkata:
One of the most busy crossing of north Kolkata is Syambajar.It is the crossing of  five roads marked by the dominating statue of Netaji.It derived its name from a big market in the area called Charles Bajaar by Howell.The present name was coined by Shobharam Basak in honour of Shyam Rai,the attendant of Goddess Kali.
Syambajar crossing of the five roads-dominated by a statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
Image coutsey-Google Images

The five roads lead from the focal point to different significant regions of the city.The growth and developement around this region chiefly worked as inspiration behind the construction of this main roads that are intricately linked by many "shortcut" lanes.Today these roads are called R.G.Kar Road,Central Avenue(or Bhupen Bose Avenue),Bidhan Sarani,Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road(Upper Circular Road),and the last one leading towards Dunlop.
Some of the buses leading to Shyambajar from various regions are 219,3C/2,3C/1,91.227,93,30D,
30E(from R.G.Kar road), 211A,215,215A(from VIP Road via Lake town along Jessore Road),240,3,93,39A/2(From central Avenue),227,3C/1,some private buses,30D,30E(from APC road).
Bidhan Sarani: According to me and I am sure most calcuttans will agree,this is the most happening stretch among the five roads.This stretch begins with one of the most thriving,popular and cheapest market region of Kolkata and leads to some of the heritage destinations like College street,Indian Coffee house,College Square,and many more.Also many colleges are situated along this stretch like Scottish Church,Bethun College,Vidyasagar College,Presidency University,Chittaranjan College,South city college,St.Paul's etc.Some of the most frequent buses in this routh are 219,3C/2,240,47B etc.Since this street is such a popular destination specially before the pujas,transport facilities are hardly ever a problem.
This is chiefly the street in north Calcutta that will dominate my post today.The portion of the stretch nearer to Shyambajaar is called Hatibagaan-it is quite a long stretch that consists of huge variety of shops for daily necessities to junk jewelleries,bags,shoes,clothes,home decors from local industries to brands like Khadims,City Mart,Leather World and many more.Starting from Shyambajaar the left footpath is dominated by mainly textiles(clothes,tops,dress material shops),bed sheets etc.This region is the house of many good shops for dress materials.A recommended shop would be Sampad along this stretch.The prices are reasonable.The shops on the footpath stock huge collections at really cheap price but it is not at all a good idea to buy from these places i you are looking for quality products.Most of the kurtis,tops sold here are too small for even an average built beauty.
A girl's dreamland can be the footpaths and markets on the right hand side from Shyambajaar.the shops before the tram depot mainly consist of utensils,fancy home decors,cutleries,bags for almost every purpose but it is advisable to ingore the first few shops from Shymbajaar side if you are looking for bags,clutches.These are the shops which are solitary and away from the crowd of similar shops and hence are always quoting a unreasonably high price compared to the quality.Beside being the City of Joy Kolkata is also perhaps the abode of best bargainers in the world and these shopkeepers seem to understand that sentiment.You can never manage something at a fair and reasonable price from them without a good argumentative capacity but then,it is useless denying the satisfaction one experiences when you something even minimum from a bargaining bout.A landmark point t this region is the "chaat" stall outside the tram depot from where the trams move out.It is a famous stop for all shoppers here.The shops beyond this are a mix of junk jewelleries,shoes and bags.However the best shops are after crossing the Star Theatre.These shops have some of the most beautiful and unique jewelleries if you have the patience to comb through all of them.And as tradition of all shopkeepers of the city they will tell you a abnormal price to begin with.You have to bargain and bring it down.Approximately the fair price is always 1/3rd of the amount they quote for heavy jewelleries and 1/2 in case of medium ones.As for those below INR50 you can still bargain and reduce it to as low as 25INR which is fun!I used to hate bargaining  but it is sort of addictive though I can't still brag about being a pro in this art.Some shops are solely for earrings.A really good one with variety of collections is the one in front of Senco gold showroom.However this guy hardly ever surrender to a bargain but then you just won't be able to resist the collections here.In fact the further you go within the markets the better thing you can get.Here is a specimen of something that I got from here:
A sea shell neckpiece.This was a singular piece(i was sure because I had already roamed the stretch of approx 5km to and fro twice scutinising every jewellery shop for a nice and heavy statement piece)The shopkeeper that asked for Rs. 350 but ulmately gave it for a bargain of 180 rupees :D
This is all for today,coming up next day is a details on central Kolkata-the busiest shopping destination with regards to availability,brands,varieties and the up to date attitude towards trends.till then.good night and take care..

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