Friday October 29, 2010
The spirit of Deepavali is alive and well in Jalan Tengku Kelana, Klang
By EDWARD R. HENRY and ELAN PERUMAL
Photos by SAMUEL ONG and EDWARD R.HENRY
SALESMEN who work for saree shops have turned up the heat among the textile shops as each one calls out and cajoles customers to see their gorgeous Deepavali sarees and clothes at Klang’s Little India in Jalan Tengku Kelana, which is in a riot of colours.
Colourful contemporary sarees in their hands, the traders coax shoppers to feel the material, see the design and with full of tact lead them from one counter to the other, to promote the pretty six-yards that are part of every Indian woman’s closet.
“Times are changing and customers are learning to avoid the last-minute rush.
“A lot of them have started purchasing early and this is a good sign that we are getting customers who are matured,” said Gayathiri Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director R.A. Moorthy.
On the whole, Moorthy said, this year’s business had been very good compared to previous years.
He said his outlets were stocked with thousands of new designs for Punjabi suits, sarees and suits for both men and women.
“Customers are looking for branded items and we have a plenty in our outlets,” said Moorthy who has 22 branches throughout the country.
He added that the outlets were offering discounts in conjunction with Gayathiri’s 22nd anniversary.
Chennai Silk Palace managing director V. Thanasegaran also noted this year’s business had been better than the previous years.
He said the people had started buying and weekends had been very good with a lot of customers visiting the outlet.
“Sarees and Punjabi suits that are named after movie stars of popular movies such Einthiran and Ravanan are in big demand at our stores,” he said.
Chennai Silk Palace manager S. Bala said people were spending more this time and with the festive season, a saree was a must for the womenfolk.
“Young women, even the Chinese and Malay, are choosing contemporary-style sarees. Stunning designs and vibrant colours make an ideal festive saree. Sarees with a scalloped border is a very contemporary style while the paisley designs are known for their uniqueness with artistic flavour,” he added.
Harekrishna Silk’s B. A. Harekrishna said this was the first Deepavali experience for his outlet which started operating business in early this year.
He said they had been operating in Banting for many years and this was their first outlet in Klang.
“We are still new here but the Deepavali business has been encouraging.
“We have brought in a lot of materials including the latest designs to meet demand.”
Besides change of business trend, Sri Rasi Silk Palace managing director S. J. Kumar said customers’ taste had also changed these days.
He said they were looking for catalogue items and were very particular about the quality of the materials.
“We have expanded our business to three shops at Jalan Tengku Kelana and this should serve the customers well.”
Sri Kumaran’s Silk Stores managing director N. Mohan said his five shops had seen walk-in customers and they were spoilt for choice with the latest vibrant coloured sarees.
“Our nation has evolved, not only the Indians are shopping, even the Chinese and Malays are buying sarees. When there is a festival, getting a pretty saree is the first thing on every fashion conscious woman’s mind. Sarees make a woman look like a million dollars,” he said.
He added that the saree-wearing style might have undergone a transformation over time but asserted that this elegant strip of cloth remained the same and continued to enhance the appearance of women and lent an unmatchable charm.
Owner of Thangaram Jewellers K. Shanbagavalli said business was brisk at her outlet as couples chose to order crafted rings and pendants with words like committed, love and forever engraved on it.
“Customers are now more passionate about gold jewellery and want some warmth in what they use. Our craftsmen are kept busy with the orders,” she said.
Foreign tourists visiting Little India are thrilled to see the riot of colours, spice shops heady with the smell of mixed curry powder, jasmine flowers, while garment shops hang sarees from ceilings, walkways that reverberates with the latest tunes of South Indian pop hits blaring from speakers.
Sometimes tempers flare-up among the small traders as each one, out does the other but in the festive spirit the traders laugh it off with a glass of cow milk tea from the neighbouring restaurants that sell traditional confectionaries
Children tagging along with their parents shop for the best bargains as Singaporean Bella Chelliah said “it’s the place for the budget conscious.”
For some, their trip to Little India is not merely a shopping excursion as it also gives them a chance to share the festive-cheer with friends and acquaintances they might bump into as they make their rounds of the stores in the popular shopping haunt.