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Gone with the gold

The auspicious Akshaya Tritya has put buying gold back in the top bracket



GLITTERING BUYS Customers buying gold on Akshaya Tritya Photo: Paul Noronha

In the litany of unnecessary trivia that crowd Indian minds it's next only to cricket scores. The rise and fall of gold prices is watched with more fervour than any serial worth its TRP. And come May 11, the fate of every gold shop in the city is going to shine brighter. Akshaya Tritya marks the onslaught of the customer on the happy jeweller. There are hordes of people everywhere buying everything in sight, from one-gram coins to layered necklaces. "Unbelievable, is the word that comes to mind when one sees the number of people crowding jewellery shops," says Srinidhi Samanth who is shopping for her niece's wedding. "It's as if half the town is here. This was never there before."

K. Shivram, Vice-president of the World Gold Council, which promotes the festival says, "It's an auspicious event and we promote the wearing of new jewellery. Over the past year we have been communicating and capitalising on the tremendous popularity that the festival has had in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In Andhra Pradesh, the festival is open to all across the jewellery trade and includes nearly 10,00 units."

Special promotions

Says Nischal Trivedi of Sri Krishna Jewellers, Abids, "We have been holding special promotions since the last week of April. People believe that what they buy on this day will only multiply through the year. And since then our parking lots have been filled to capacity."

It is boom time for everyone - the habitual shopper, the impulsive shopper, those who spend without a care and those who scrimp and save to buy that bangle. Harikishen Gupta, Managing Partner, Totaram Murarilal and Sons while keeping a firm eye on all the push and shove crowd in his store, says, "Akshaya Tritya has buyers almost on par with Dhanteras. Two years ago it was nothing but now there is very extra buying almost to a superlative degree. To meet the rush we stock new patterns in multiples."

When it comes to buying gold, credit is not anathema any more. Kirtilal's `Swarnapurnam scheme' with a tie up with Andhra Bank extends loans to women to buy jewellery worth Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 2,00,000 for this period. "Last year we sold 18 kilos during the festival alone and had to down the shutters for a while to regulate the crowds. This year we have introduced an affordable diamond range. We also selectively door deliver gold coins to some customers," says Kirtilal's manager, Gunasekhar. "And surprisingly many of them have said they have seen a prosperous year."

Maybe fortune is written in the stars but as people change from being small-time savers to being big-time spenders, the ways in which they shop too has changed.

While buying jewellery has always been marked with excitement, lots of budgeting and sometimes a headache never before have markets been marked with the kind of euphoria one can see this time around. Goddess Lakshmi, it seems has finally come into her own.

DEEPA ALEXANDER

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