Tag Archives: shopping

Vanity confusion

Which woman can resist a sale? I cannot, especially if there’s a sale on for bags or perfumes.

A couple of months back, I visited one of those huge malls, where I was merely supposed to go in, pick up a gift and head straight home. If only things were that simple!  My shopping neurons hijacked my thinking. I moved in circles and straight lines, walking in and out of shops.

Just as I was leaving, after nearly ninety minutes of meandering, with my hawk-eyes not having missed a thing, I chanced upon a sale for perfumes. 

Testing the various fragrances and inhaling the smell of coffee beans in turns, I was sweet-talked into buying a newly launched perfume. Not only did the perfume smell divine, it came with so many freebies, all of which I was very happy to receive.

I felt this huge sense of achievement, as I told my conscience that it was a great deal, freebies and all. So, the said freebies were a few bottles of miniature perfumes, shower gel, hand moisturizer, umbrellas, note books and many others.

Cut to yesterday, when I had to attend a concert. I was running late, and because my skin dries up quite fast in air-conditioned environs, I hurriedly opened the freebies packet and stuffed whatever I needed into my handbag.

Midway through the concert, my hands felt dry, so I took out the tube of moisturizer and applied it on my hands. What a heavenly smell wafted. I felt really good.

Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda

After a few minutes, I felt that the skin on my hands was feeling rather stretched and not how it should have  felt after moisturizing.  I let it pass, putting it down to ‘skin needs to adapt to the new product syndrome’.

After the event, when we got home and I went to wash my hands before dinner, a strange thing happened. The moment my hands touched water, frothy bubbles formed on my hands. I was shocked, wondering if I had become allergic to the new cream.

Later that evening, when I cleared my bag, I realized that instead of the moisturizer, I had carried the tube of shower gel with me, which I had then applied generously.

Sigh!

Shopping with a teen

I love shopping, like every other woman. I can spend hours trying on clothes and accessories, and walking till my heels beg me to sit down. 

But shopping with a teen is another experience altogether. So we have jeans, tees and other tops on our shopping list. My daughter’s requirements are specific. She knows exactly what she wants, and goes looking for them with determination.

So, we go to the jeans store. My eyes pop with the sheer variety and cuts. All kinds of designs.

My daughter wants something cool. The shop assistant brings a pair that has scratches on the thighs. Like a cat clawed the cloth. My daughter finds this appealing.

Then we see ‘distressed’ jeans. I prefer the cat scratches. Sigh!

We move on to the t-shirts. My daughter brings 7 or 8 to try on. But they are all black in colour, with silver or white designs.

I ask her why she would want to look like the night sky all the time. She merely gives me that ‘Mom, I know what I am doing look’.

Courtesy – Clipart Panda

We go around in circles, getting loaded with black. Accessories are not very different – cool is feathers, cool is ‘can’t even see the dot that passes off for a earring’, cool is long chains. 

We finally finish. My daughter is so excited with her shopping. I amble home. I enjoy her energy.

 I know that her tastes will change. Vibrant colours will wash into her wardrobe, she will experiment. She will find her own sense of style that defines the unique person she is. She will stop trying to fit in and learn to be more comfortable in her skin. 

We will go shopping again, my daughter and I. We will sit down with aching feet and smile at the fun day we shared, sipping an aromatic cup of coffee. 

Walking down a busy street

In India, most cities and towns have these streets (the equivalent of the high streets that one finds in the West), which are the nerve-centres for everyday shopping. Ranging from supermarkets to cafes and clothes retailers, these streets have them all.

It is early evening, and there’s a nip in the air. Winter’s setting in and wollen caps and sweaters are in evidence.

I am walking down the busiest street in our area, looking to buy some footwear. There are hundreds of people on the street. The street slopes downwards, and from where I stand, I get a wonderful view of the bustle.

People are getting home after a long day at work and stopping-by to either pick up supplies, buy take away dinner, buy vegetables or stand around – eating piping hot samosas and drinking masala chais.

I stroll down and soak-in the spirit of the place. My first stop is before a lady who sells flowers. She is a street-hawker and has a cane basket with different flowers.

image

I see that she has these lovely purple-mauve flowers, popularly known as the ‘December Poo’, meaning flowers that bloom in December. The flowers have been beautifully threaded into long rolls. I ask her if I can click a picture and she obliges, as do many others.

Twilight sets in and the birds are flying back to their nests, flocks of them dotting the sky. Below, people are also in a hurry to get home.

image

The peanut seller and the corn seller have set up their trolleys at vantage locations to catch the crowds. The lady selling corn has a burning coal pit, over which she lazily turns a corn cob. The smells are delicious.

There are many more stalls that sell flowers and vegetables. The ladies are seated adjacent to each other, their stalls lit by single electric lamps. The veggies are neatly arranged in baskets.

image

At every stall, people are bargaining. We Indians (both the vendors and the buyers) love to bargain. So, back and forth go the discussions, till finally both sides are happy.

image

There are stalls selling earrings and clips and rubber bands. All those small things that make-up our every day lives.

There is so much energy all around me. A slice of everyday life. I click a few pictures.

image

I stop by at a famous bakery, famous for its butter biscuits and honey cakes. I order butter biscuits ‘to go’, and sink my teeth into a deliciously soft honey cake. I observe the street, as the cake melts in my mouth.

Twilight has transformed into night. Stars make their appearance, a twinkle here and a twinkle there, as I head homewards.

Not a cent…

A couple of years ago, my son came up to me, and asked if he could start getting pocket money on a regular basis.

I asked him if he needed to buy anything?

“Yes, I need many things. So,  I thought I would plan out what I need, and buy it with my pocket money”, he said.

We agreed on an amount, and a few chores that he needed to do to earn a portion of the pocket money. The deal was signed.

After a few weeks of saving up, one evening, he came to me with a list of things he wanted to buy.

So, we went down to the local super-market, and a stationery shop. 

My son looked for all the items he wanted, noted down the prices, added, subtracted, deleted and prioritized…and then guess what?

He did not spend even a single cent!

I asked him for the reason.

He mulled over my question and said, “Things are so expensive, I have to plan better.”

I smiled. Kids…give them their own money and they are loath to spend it!!

When the lady went shopping…

The mail has brought good news. Points that I have meticulously gathered on my credit card have borne fruit in the form of shopping vouchers…Yay!!!

I am out at 10.30 a.m. to buy out the entire mall with these vouchers. There’s a feeling of dizzy happiness as I contemplate, make lists and eliminate choices in my head.

When I finally get to the mall, I head straight to the clothes section. What a riot of colours and designs. I start with a few tops, go to the trial room, try them on – I like only one out of the seven. I go back again, come back with one more batch from two other brands. None of them seem to look nice on me.

But I am determined. I go for the third round. I am not adventurous now, I bring back a mixed batch of my regulars and the ‘ohhh I wish I could wear that’ clothes.

One of the dresses from the ‘ohhh I wish..’ category seems to have been designed with me in mind. I gasp in joy and excitement. I dream of parties to which I will wear this outfit, I dream about clutches and footwear, accessories and hairdos.  I have decided on this piece. I look at the price tag; my eyes pop out as I realize that it costs double the value of my vouchers.

I am unhappy. I want a friend, who will egg me on to buy this dress and fight my hyper-active guilty conscience. I want coffee…..

I go back for round four. My hair is a mess and my arms are aching from all the trial room excursions. 

Round four is the sober me – all the excitement has fizzled out.  My goal is to get full value for the vouchers in my handbag. I focus on my regular brands and head to the cosmetics section, and ask for my regular lipstick.

The sales lady says, “That’s an old model, we now have this dual matte and gloss lipstick. This is all the rage now.”

Oh! Am I out of touch? I buy the dual lipstick, to be in the ‘now’!

Three tops and one lipstick, and I have exhausted the voucher amount.

Four long hours- that started off with promise and hope and colours and designs – have ended on a sober note.

Vouchers spent, nothing has  changed, three new additions to my collection, and I STILL HAVE NOTHING SUITABLE TO WEAR.

Not a gram more, not a gram less

My annual trip to India is coming to a close, and we are heading home tonight.  I am seated on the floor cross-legged, with many suitcases for company. I have shopped without remorse, like there’s no tomorrow.  This gluttony repeats itself every year, as I justify to anyone who cares to listen that I visit only once a year, and hence need to shop this much!!

The shopping has piled up like a bonfire mound.  I am trying to sort it out and pack intelligently.  My husband walks in and I can sense an argument brewing.

He asks me to remove the tags from all the clothes, as they may unnecessarily add to the weight.  I nod, and go snip snip.  Each dress has many tags, one with the price, one with extra buttons, one with the brand, one which assures you of quality.  Soon, another pile builds up.

My daughter walks in and looks at the tags, and announces that she will start a tag collection.

I start packing, my husband watches, hawk-like.  He keeps reminding me that we are only allowed 20 kg per person as check-in baggage.  What’s in the shopping pile looks like 100 kg at least!

We are four, so 80 kg should go through.  I have my books, I cannot leave those, I cannot leave anything that I have bought.

I pack and unpack, clothes and footwear, pickles and powders, books and more books, clothes for the children, books for the children….I am slowly losing it.

Somehow I fit it all in.  Now the real fun starts.  My husband brings the weighing scale and starts weighing.  I play assistant and note down the weights:

Big blue bag – 23 kg

Big Brown suitcase – 25 kg

Small brown suitcase – 21 kg

Black bag – 26 kg

My husband starts removing stuff that he thinks I will not require.  I am frantic, I am unable to choose, I absolutely need those things.  I hop about as he asks me if I plan to open a clothes franchise, when I get home.

All the surplus luggage gets into the hand baggage.  He mercilessly removes my precious books. When he is not looking, I stuff 3 books into my tote.  My daughter walks in with her neatly arranged tag collection.  She asks if we can pack this precious collection.

My husband wants some leeway with the weight of each bag, just in case our weighing machine and the airport weighing machine do not show the same weight.  One more round of pruning happens.  I cannot add any more.

Not a gram more, not a gram less!

The bags are packed and locked and rolled away.  I look at the things I have had to leave behind.  I whine.  Nobody hears me.