LAHORE - The first winter rainfall that hit different parts of the Punjab including the provincial metropolis at pre-dawn time on Monday turned the weather chilly, breaking long dry spell deepening over the last two months. The first shower is deemed to be a prelude of the winter season in its true colour. The weather conversion from dry spell to nippy has made wide-ranging changes into the lifestyle of the people. Wearing warm clothes, eating dry fruits and fish, drinking coffees and having chicken soups are the hot demands of the cold season that have formally set in after the first winter rain. The cold but pleasant weather, following the torrential downpour, drew the people out to enjoy themselves in parks, zoo and other places. As Monday was also a public holiday, families crowded the Lahore Zoo, parks and restaurants in the City to celebrate the onset of winter season. A large number of people ordered food from restaurant drive-throughs to have food while they cruised the roads. Sheeba Park, adjacent to McDonalds in Defence area, remained packed with people throughout the day, who kept the order-takers busy and enjoyed the junks in open air. A large number of people also went out for traditional breakfast to enjoy Nehari and Halwa Purri, which complimented the weather. Many families chose Monday to visit their relatives. Cart-vendors and roadside outlets had a good sale as people out to enjoy the weather grabbed tits and bits to munch on. With the end of dry weather, it is hoped that respiratory and chest problems will come to an end now. Most patients, especially children, who contracted viral diseases like influenza, bronchitis, typhoid, nasal allergy, asthma, soar throat, chest infection, dry cough and scabies would get the relief. The dry spell was also delaying wheat cultivation in arid areas in Potohar region. According to agricultural experts and local farmers, cultivation of wheat crop has to be completed before November 15 in Potohar region but the atmosphere was not conducive for it. However, they are hopeful that rain would bring relief for them. The commencement of winter season has also helped increase the demand of different variety of fish in the market. Though the rates are higher than last season but rush of people on fish market is witnessing upward trend. As the weather is changing, the sale of kids winter clothes has increased considerably in the City. People can be seen bargaining with retailers at various markets, where woollies, heaps of quilts, quilted bedcovers and rugs are being sold. We are doing good business these days, as the demand for winter clothes of kids has risen, said Qasim Mehmood, a clothes dealer at Liberty Market. Our sales of male and female warm clothes are also good and we expect that in the days ahead, these will go up further, claimed another dealer, who runs a shop at Icchra. Many people have thronged to Lunda bazaars to buy clothes for themselves and kids at cheaper rates. Poor people get warm clothes from Lunda bazaars at cheap prices, said Sher Alam at the Landa Bazaar near Railway Station. Hassan, a customer, said sweaters and jackets in Landa Bazaar were of good quality and cheap as compared to new ones. Last year I bought a new jacket from a reputed shop at very high price but it lost its shine within a few day, he said, adding, Later I bought a jacket from Landa Bazaar for Rs 250 only, and it is still in same condition. As the winter season is in full swing, the demand and sale of dry fruits has significantly increased. However, with the increasing demand, the prices have also gone up and beyond the reach of common man. Apart from regular shopkeeper, dry fruit vendors have raised prices of dry fruits out of proportion. A dry fruit vendor told this scribe that there had been several other factors leading to increasing prices during the winter season. The prices of dry fruits including almond, pistachio, walnut, pine nut (chilghoza), date, cashew nut (Kaju), dried apricot, coconut, fig and peanut increase in winter season as these were mostly demanded during the season.