It just happens that we live opposite a mall. When it was under construction, the magnitude of it would amaze me, having me wonder what it would have in store for my small city. One day, I decided to cross the road, finally, and step inside those fancy glass doors, on the glazed flooring. To my surprise, nothing attracted me, and whatever little did, ended up only going to back to the shelves, since I was so shocked by the price tag.
Those shops full of branded apparel, shoes, bags, glares, etc. were, by my paying capacity, very, very expensive. Daily, I would stand outside my gate and watch youngsters and their parents flock to the mall and come out loaded with shopping bags. This brand-conscious generation will not settle for anything less than high-end but times have changed for us who spent money on things that we would value for years.
About 15 years ago, my granddaughter, Gayatri, cleared her board examinations with spectacular grades. The family was euphoric. It was a festival-like atmosphere at home that day. Being her grandmother, I thought of giving her a gift, something beautiful, something she would remember me by all her life. From a little girl in school, she was turning into a mature, young woman.
I decided to take her jewellery shopping and ask her to pick anything that suited her age. The salesman showed her chains, rings, bracelets, anklets, and many other small items but, surprisingly, she didn't throw a glance at any of those. I tried persuading her but she refused. We had to come out empty handed, finally, and despairingly so.
Next to the jewellery shop was a branded-shoe store. "Dadi, if you want to get me a gift indeed," said Gayatri, "buy me a pair of sports shoes." So, we walked in to have a look. The price started from Rs 6,000. She insisted but I did not have the heart to blow up a mini fortune on a pair of joggers that would wear out in a year or so. I was ready to spend Rs 10,000 on jewellery, though, but sports shoes?
We came home without buying anything at all. That was then. She is now well grown up and, though married, doesn't prefer to wear any ornaments, not even a wristwatch. Her only accessory is her latest mobile phone. Nevertheless, I am proud to say she carries herself with confidence, grace, and poise.
She doesn't regret not being able to buy a piece of jewellery that day, and, as for me, I'm not repentant either for not bringing home those chunky shoes. Who wants those anyway?