Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Veni, vidi, visa - I came, I saw, I shopped

Yes, I confess I am a shopaholic and guess what I am proud to be one. I can shop anytime anywhere! Shopping is always so exhilarating and uplifting. It easily qualifies as one of the most cathartic experiences I have ever had – a panacea to all my worries ever.

My earliest memories of shopping go down to my toddler years when dad and mom used to take us kids for the routine shopping rituals – uniform shopping at the beginning of each academic session in April, summer wear to brave the heat of May and June, birthday shopping in September, new clothes for Diwali in Oct-Nov and Priyank’s (my younger bro) b’day shopping in Jan and the cycle repeated year after year. Every instance was an outing, a celebration to look forward to.
New things – latest 3-d pencil boxes/cases, lunch boxes, bata shoes, school uniform, frocks, t-shirts, new socks … everything … caught my heart’s fancy back then and continue to excite me even now and I promise for many many more years to come.

School years made way for the frenzy and flamboyance of college life. Ritualistic family visits to conventional shops in Karol Bagh and Connaught Place were overtaken by group attacks to the crowded and dusty streets of Janpath, Sarojini Nagar, Central Market in Lajpat Nagar and Kamala Nagar. Rummaging through the export rejected “maal”: T-shirts and kurtas for half the showroom price, bargaining in the hot summer heat with the bhaiyaas and uncles to get the beautiful oxidized “Ashoka” jewelry – bracelets, armlets, chunky earring and stone necklaces in ‘do ka bees’ (2 pieces for 20 rupees) and finally the satisfaction of getting the embroidered bag with mirror work for the cheapest possible price made a great successful day.
Ofcourse, we also made it a point not to miss the pleasure of air-conditioned shopping experience at the more chic locales of Ansal Plaza, Fab India and Cottons and the upscale markets of G.K. M Block, South Ex, PVR Priya and Dilli Haat.
As college years threatened to come to an end, Delhi and the NCR region witnessed the surge of malls and multiplexes - (apart from flyovers, but that’s a different story altogether) – Centerstage in Noida, 3Cs in Lajpat, Shipra and many such vast giants emerged pushing the unorganized market segments to the periphery of the middle class shopping experience. Malls and the brands sold within these malls limited my choices for shopping when I started working in 2004. Haggling in Janpath et al, combining shopping with eating and merriment, and taking this time to bond with each other reminisced to a beautiful nostalgic memory – Shopping became an act of need, a job to be gotten done with...but not for long.

The shopaholic spirit in me was aroused and awakened - completely - when the wedding bells rang. Amidst the old Delhi colorful charm of the lehengas of Chandni Chowk, the bright bangles near Hanuman Mandir, the silks of Nallis, the chiffons, crepes and georgettes of Meena Bazaar, the gold and diamonds of Tanishq, the bandhinis of Jaipur the banarasis and kanjeevarams, the tanchois and the lehariyas, was revived the passion I had for the art, the skill, the experience – shopping!

“Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping.” I so agree with whoever said that – a big hug for you!

Work and personal life, actually, married life has taken me to some of the most amazing and unique shopping destinations (apart from Delhi, which continues to remain no. 1 for me) – entangled streets of Hazrat Ganj in Lucknow, the long stretch of Jauhari Bazaar in Jaipur, the fashionable Fashion Street in Colaba Bombay, the always-busy Pondy Bazaar in T.Nagar Chennai, rustic Khurja in UP, the glamorous Night Bazaar in Bangkok, the never-ending shopping arcades in the world-famous Bloomingdale’s and Beverly Hills to name a few in the shopper’s paradise - Los Angeles, the expanse of Union Square in San Francisco, the noisy Beale Street in Memphis, the stylish Michigan Avenue in Chicago and the countless factory outlets and malls in the many states of US.

As opposed to many anti-shopping tirades in this universe (including those of my husband’s), I have a very holistic view to the distinctive concept of shopping. And my close shopping mates – voluntary – school/college friends, mom and involuntary – my poor brother and hubby – will agree.
While shopping you get to witness the miraculous creativity of us human beings as we see all kinds of people with varied tastes, backgrounds and budgets, trying to find the best fit, the perfect combination, the ultimate gift. Moreover, shopping brings out the best in people…I mean c’mon have you heard of someone saying let me buy this, it accentuates my paunch or hey let’s buy this for so and so, it will make her look uglier? No, right? That’s exactly my point.

I love the hustle and bustle of the swarming market places, the constant fretting of young teenagers to get into size XS or Petite-S, the forced hurrying by the dads and hubs, the worn-out look on the toddlers’ faces, the candyman at the corner trying to boost his sales, and finally the big sign boards with the golden four letters “SALE”.

Veni, vidi, visa - I came, I saw, I shopped.


  1. I totally agree with u, girl :)

  2. Hey this was interesting! And the SALE word.. how much happiness that brings :-D

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