Tough task shopping for family


Kavitha (middle) and Kamaleshwaran picking out Deepavali outfits for their children at a shop in Little India, Penang. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

DEEPAVALI shopping, which is something the entire family enjoyed in the past, has now become the responsibility of two persons from each family when doing last-minute shopping in Little India, Penang.

With only two per household allowed to go out to buy necessities during the conditional movement control order (MCO), K. Kavitha said it was tough to do shopping for the entire family.

“Everybody at home has different taste and preferences when it comes to what they like or do not like, ” said the 30-year-old logistics operating team leader.

Together with her husband S. Kamaleshwaran, 32, they were buying clothes and prayer items for their family members.

“We are on a last-minute run as I have to buy a blouse for my mother-in-law and some clothes for my children.

Subha trying out a Punjabi suit at a shop in Little India, Penang.Subha trying out a Punjabi suit at a shop in Little India, Penang.

“With all of them unable to make the trip, we have to choose for them and hope that it suits their taste.

“We have to show them the selection via video call, ” she said when met at Little India yesterday.

Kavitha said festive shopping used to mean spending quality family time together.

“But it is a different feel this year with just the two of us.

“We definitely miss the times when all of us had to fit in two cars and did shopping there, ” she said.

Lawyer T. Sharmela, 32, and her colleague Subha Bharathi, 30, who is a litigation clerk, said the festive spirit was missing this year.

“I am buying clothes for my family, and this year we are only getting a pair of new clothes each for the prayers during Deepavali.

“As we will be staying home for the festive season, we did not plan to buy as much as the previous years.

A shopper getting Indian sweets from a stall in Little India.A shopper getting Indian sweets from a stall in Little India.

“Since I am buying for my family members, I do not want to buy too much in case the clothes or items do not suit them.

“We have thought of coming separately at different times but when we thought of the roadblocks, it was better for me to just choose and buy for them, ” she added.

Shop owner S.T. Sambanthan, 54, said he lost 70% of the usual crowd and customers since the conditional MCO began on Monday.

“As many roadblocks are set up between the states and people are restricted from travelling, we lost the numbers from places like Kedah, Perlis and Perak.

“All the while, Penang’s Little India has always been like a central festive shopping hub for those from the northern states.

“Now that the conditional MCO is in place, a lot of people are restricted from travelling.

“Many will be staying home, so they are not buying as much as in previous years, ” he said.

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