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Shop around the clock

Hate it or love it, you do it. As the clock runs out on 2008, here’s Ashok Rai's shopumentary with something for everyone...

india Updated: Dec 19, 2008 12:54 IST
Ashok Rai
Ashok Rai
Hindustan Times

Hate it or love it, you do it. You got to look right, feel right and above all, think right. So as the clock runs out on ’08, here’s HT Café’s shopumentary with something for everyone.. even if you’ve busted your piggy bank, there’s always window shopping, bargain hunting or simply splurging (maybe with someone else’s money).

Upmarket, mid, or downmarket, so LS, so swish, hey, we’ve heard all that before and aren’t quite ready to take it any more. We’re just we, like every individual is. Shopping is something personal, a comfort zone, like some shops with swishy sales guys and gals (smilies in airline-like uniforms can put you off), others circle around you as in moths around flames, and ask that dreaded question, “Can I help, you?” Yeah sure, just give me space dude, if we like something we’ll pick it up, if not we’ll be on our way. Okay?

Book browsing or running fingers through sari textures, it’s all encapsulated in the words ‘retail therapy’. Some say that they never shop (right, we don’t expect Mr Laxmi Mittal to arrive at shops to select his Kolhapuris), some say.. aah okay maybe (those are closet shoppers) and others are buy-o-holics, setting their credit cards aflame, whether the shop-till-you-drop sprees are at Bandra’s Globus or London’s Harrods.

At the end of the day, it’s how much you can attain of your aspirations. And there can be no ceiling on that.. speaking of which we’re just thinking of the new, sleek, minimal ceiling fans that have just arrived in the lanes off Crawford Market.. now don’t they look just like the ones Param picked up from Ravissant?

And don’t even talk of Chor Bazaar.. some of us find it overrated. Maybe we just can’t locate where the chors and their hot stuff are.. Friday’s the day to go there.. we’ve done that too.. but excuse us isn’t that Ming vase more faux than the imitations of Vuitton, Gucci and Fendi bags from Beijing? Anita got herself one but ummm, the sheen isn’t the same as it’s on Chhaya’s genuine article, or Dhody’s.

Options galore
In fact, don’t even get us started on alternate shopping. It’s on the net (Eeeeee-Bay), it’s on television, it’s.. whoa.. even in the toilets of the Inox, exhorting you to go out and grab a chocolate nut bar.

It’s on the roads, streets, airports, railway stations. Maybe your neighbour has a shop, too, which is why she keeps borrowing cups of sugar. Must be baking cakes on the sly and selling them by tele-orders.

To look smart, we have various guides and newspaper cub reporters telling us how to wear our boyfriends’ jackets (listen mates, he doesn’t even have one) and they’re telling us, where to head for the most succulent kababs this side of the Bukhara.

Pick of the lot
They’re telling us which CD to buy, which movie to see, which DVD to toss into the ocean and whether to opt for a Tarun Tahiliani or a Tarun Mansukhani this season, even if the latter is a film director and the former isn’t. And you know what, we just love it.

We also leaf through international magazines, websites and brochures.. and we listen to songs on the radio (when the deejay isn’t going blah-blah). We’re told by the petrol pump attendant that there’s a new wonder oil.. which we ignore. And then we go home to listen to the classic rock.. and hey man, just check out what the Rolling Stones are saying on the cut I can’t get no satisfaction! Jagger’s actually saying, “He can’t be a man.. because he doesn’t smoke the same cigarette as me.” Or words to that effect.

That was meant to be a jibe against consumerism, today it sounds so retro. Like who’s smoking, guys? Ramadoss is our new Jagger, praise be.

Don’t know if this is a rant or rave.. about shopping. Decode it, and it’s a valentine actually. It takes us back to the era when granny forgot the word Lux and asked the Roman Store chap to just give her the soap used by Hema
Malini and Moushumi Chatterjee (grans was strange).

Back in time
It takes us back to the time when there were no malls and lesser maal in the market. Today, we can just hop out in the lunch recess, for a lip or nose job at the cosmetologist down the lane. And colleagues don’t even notice. Maybe they do it on purpose, no one wants the other at the next PC to look more glam than he or she already is.

See, this is the kind of subject that merits a Penguin or Duckling-published book. A Café Shopping Friend, Philosopher and Guide which will take you through the A to Z of shopping.

Rumour is that Rolli and Polli are into one already.. on the lines of those food guides to Mumbai (which tell us about Pancham Puri House but not about so many wonderful chow places in town, suburbs and Navi Mumbai).

Listen, quite clearly Mumbai is a shopper’s paradise. Many may head for the Dubai shopping festival, the summer clearance sales at Selfridges or the whatevers at Macy’s in New York.

Believe us, there’s no place like home.. make that a shop, please.

First Published: Dec 19, 2008 12:45 IST