From bags to soft toys to scarves to trinkets to shoes to spices all are available on the streets of Kolkata at magical prices. Winter is just perfect weather to indulge in shopping on the streets and it is therapeutic in nature.
Shopping malls can have glazed floors and manicured ambiance but is absolutely no match for the innovative hawking that happens by the wayside. The conversation, the bargaining and the exercise of walking a few steps and again being called back by the stall owner is sheer adrenalin rush.
Name your price and it is yours
While some streets of Kolkata specalise in household items there are some others that have clothes and accessories. Street shopping is a shopper’s paradise and the feeling is that of a painter with a large empty canvas a box of colours waiting to pour out his feelings.
Shopping on the streets is appealing to many because of the spread and the variety that is on display. There is always something to suit every budget. The high energy salesmen ensure that seldom a buyer leaves empty handed from his stall. The hawking style – be it in a rhythmic tone or simply shouting out ones ware is always done innovatively to attract the buyers.
Selling skills on display beat any management book hollow – be it setting material on fire to prove its fire resistant quality to slamming wares on the pavement to prove their durability are all on done and it is entertaining too.
Winter attracts communities from the hills who arrive in the city with colorful woolen clothing. The stalls are put up overnight and the riot of colours on display attracts the buyers much like bees to a pot of honey. These winter wears are offered at a reasonable price though bargaining is a must.
Some stalls have branded perfumes, clothes and accessories quite unabashedly displayed and are colloquially known as “branded fake”. So a pair of “Levis” jeans could be available for as low as Rupees seven hundred or a Gucci bag could cost a mere four hundred. Though it would be prudent for the buyer to take note of the spelling touting the brand on the ware – that could be a sure giveaway.
Vibrant, eye-catching and almost hypnotic is how shoppers describe street shopping in Kolkata. Be it beads or shawls or a pair of stilettos it is all on the menu!
Gem stones and remedial herbs and roots, alternative medicines are also found while walking down any wayside. So if one wants a complete makeover – mind, body and soul it is all available at a reasonable price on the footpaths of Kolkata. Munching on hot peanuts or channa garam while doing some street shopping can be an invigorating experience. Tea in clay cups accompanied with singara or kochuri are a must while indulging in street shopping.
It is winter and with the festive season closing in, the setting is just perfect to go out on the streets and explore the world that awaits out there to suit every budget and pocket.
Words of caution though, do keep an eye on your bag and belongings while bargaining and lost in shopping – if unlucky you could lose more than what you profit. Also street shopping is highly addictive yet completely harmless.