Outside the malls, the crowds surged. After all, the offers were open only till stocks lasted.
“It took me three hours to get in,” said Worli resident Sunita Chavan, jostling past the surge of shoppers outside Big Bazaar, Lower Parel on Independence Day to avail of early bird discounts.
“The discounts were too tempting to be missed,” admitted Chavan, wiping the sweat off her forehead with her yellow saree.
The homemaker had no mask strapped to her face, like several others among the crowd.
The state government’s precautionary guideline to defer sales and discounts in a bid to discourage crowds from assembling went unheeded.
Asked about the throng of shoppers, a harried mall official gestured to this correspondent to keep moving. “Write whatever you see here, but move now,” he said, regulating the rush outside where a makeshift shamiana had been put up to accommodate the hordes of shoppers.
On the other hand, desolate multiplexes told a sad story much to the annoyance of shoppers.
“Why keep theatres shut when malls are running?” asked Nidhi Chaudhary (18), making no bones about the fact that she was dying to get back to the movies.
Sharmishta Katkade, a class 8 student, echoed the view. “Why only the multiplexes, even malls need to down shutters,” she said.
Director of Haffkine Institute, Dr Abhay Chaudhary, said that keeping multiplexes shut might help.
“The chain of transmission [of swine flu] is broken for at least three days,” Chaudhary. “Let’s see what difference it makes.”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan is slated to visit Pune on Sunday to take stock of the situation.
His deputy, Chhagan Bhujbal, had criticised him at the Cabinet meeting in Mantralaya on Thursday over his failure to control the situation.