Sunday, August 05, 2007


Bangalore Mirror, Tues 7th Aug 2007

I’m surrounded by people who religiously believe that “There is nothing money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard”

How shopper’s stops and malls have become the forum for one’s recreational lifestyle, just goes to show how central they’ve become to one’s existence.

How can anyone consider aimlessly wafting through rows of lingerie or some such, as entertainment? One would argue that I did just that, strolling through the ‘glasshouses’ in Amsterdam, but in my defense, the lingerie back then, at least had people in it!

Why would anyone spend over an hour in weekend Bangalore traffic, find parking 20,000 leagues under the mall only to be jostled around, pinched, nudged and letched at? Even the escalators aren’t considered safe for kids like me anymore, so it certainly can’t be for the joyride.

One has to only go to one of these places of Sunday obligation to know what I’m talking about. Mama bear, Papa bear, Grandma bear, Baby bear (in pram) with Goldilocks in tow, all in their finest finery. They will get there really early, spend their entire day running through the great wide open fields of gold, taking in the invigorating air-conditioned air, listening to the promotional birds twittering (about why AMD is the best multitasking processor), spreading out their picnic basket and enjoying a lazy lunch at the food court, before going home only to be back the next week.

But what’s most interesting is the wonderfully therapeutic properties of shopping.

The undisputed cure for all depression, joblessness, obesity, failed love lives and menopause. Name the ailment or the situation ... I am told, the greater the indulgence, the faster the road to recovery. And mind you, this is irrespective of whether there is need to buy or not.

A friend of mine (let’s call her Little Ms. Marcos to protect her identity, because she’s one of Bangalore’s pretty, known, socialite faces) buys shoes as a hobby. Even if she were to wear a new pair every week she would be taken care of for the next 5 years. Her defence lawyer would say ‘whats wrong with that? People collect everything from stamps to coins to matchboxes to AK56s.’ But really, there has to be a law against this, because 200 odd stilettos could most certainly be classified as weapons of mass destruction.

Then there’s my wife (lets call her Jeans, to protect her identity and my backside) who insists on buying her denims always a size smaller. It’s called an aspirational size (again, I am told). All it aspires to be really, is neatLee stacked away in it’s original packaging waiting for famine and drought to strike the land.

There are also others like that canteen manager (let’s call him Ashok Malhotra. There’s no need to protect his identity. He’s busted good and proper anyways) who buy 50 cars (and we’re not talking functional, mode-of-transport type vehicles here, we are talking serious symbols of status like Mercs and Prados and Land Cruisers here). What does he do with the other 49 when he goes out for a drive? Puts them on a leash and takes them in tow??

Then I know of another (let’s call him John. In Lingarajpuram, if one throws a stone up in the air it will land either in a beer bottle or on a John, so I’m safe) who changes his mobile phone as often as Little Ms Marcos changes shoes. For a contraption that helps one to make calls and send messages, life-altering upgrades every month seem rather ridiculous don’t you think??

But the queen of it all just has to be my mother in law. If someone had to tell me that I won a crore in a lottery I really wouldn’t have a clue what to do with it.

But let’s put her in a similar situation. Before the money even reached her, she would’ve decimated it all. It’s a rare gift, again, I am told. Every other big spender has pet projects. Like shoes or gizmos or jeans or cars. But here, it hardly matters. Initially I thought she had a soft cushion for furniture. I always feel like a bull, when I am in their china shop, because it’s more museum, less house. What is remarkable though is there are no favorite projects. The minute she walks in a joint, every spend gets equal and adequate attention. Whether it be jewelry or saris or crockery or just something as mundane as shopping for groceries, more IS the new lesson.

So, to all of you that give gyan that ‘money can’t buy love and happiness’ tell that to that Japanese man Ta-Bo who has spent 16,000 USD over the last decade on dolls. The same dolls he watches TV with, bathes, powders them and then takes lovingly to bed.


Boomsa Happy said...


Meera said...

Hey Carlton, I bet you never thought I would show up on your blog! Remember me? Meera, of Meera and Neela fame! Just stopping by to say hi!

ceebee said...

hahahaha ... meera and neela fame it seems ... she had the (notorious) fame .. u had the (mis)fortune of being her sibling ...
its so strange .. just a couple of days ago i did a serach on face book to see if i could find u ...
mail me on

Casperbaba said...

ur humor.....

so subtle.... yet hits harder than a brick...

i like ur method of writing presenting the most serious of issues in most light hearted way!!!

u've found an avid reader for urself!

C - scapes ... underwater colours