Saturday, October 4, 2008

xs, s, m, l, xl, xxl

i went to the mall today. and i suffered from mall glaze.

it's the state of too many things. clothes. shoes. underwear. underwire. tops. tie ups. someone stop this madness.

really, does this happen to you? you walk in feeling like a kid in a candy store, and half an hour later you're feeling slightly sick and disoriented. like you just ate up half the store.

how many things can you try? how many times can you pull your jeans off? how many things can you lug around in that tie up basket? how many racks can you tug and pull at?

this is what happens to me. after a while i start feeling hypnotised. then everything starts to look the same. then i don't know which aisle to head towards. then suddenly, i don't even know what i was looking for in the first place. then my arms start to ache. then it feels like "why are they playing such loud music.". then finally i realise after four hours all i've got in my basket is a stupid T-shirt.

okay. so maybe it's not that bad. but the point is it very nearly is.

because i'm a child of limited choice. when i was growing up there was just one shop, with one surly shopkeeper. everything was packed in cardboard cases. and everything seemed frightfully expensive. so you tentatively pointed to two, or at the most (gasp, you bold thing) three things. surly showed them to you, you tried them, and that was it. puja/diwali/birthday shopping over.

the only place your eyes threatened to glaze over, was in the sari shop. i remember dreading being dragged on those expeditions with my mom and her sisters. but even that was civilised. once the shopkeeper had sized you up, you were offered bar stool like chairs, cold drinks and water in steel glasses magically appeared, while the obliging salesmen draped themselves in sari after sari.

it was like a fashion show, in drag.

there were other options too. like tailors. so you carried across your cloth or cut piece, usually a birthday gift. and then you pored over patterns and designs. my mom's tailor used to get second hand catalogues from abroad. no wonder i spent most of my growing up wearing prissy high neck blouses with lace and ribbon. like an old british maid. still, it was a world of limited choices. because my mom made all the decisions, the only thing i could choose was the cold drink i could have at the tailors - rasna or campa cola. actually even then my mom would have the last choice, " No ice."

whew. never thought i'd say this. but if i see my mom's tailor now, i'd probably run to him and throw my arms around him, and say, " from tomorrow you will be my shoppers stop, my pantaloon, my inorbit, my oberoi mall, my hypercity....."

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