Monday, April 4, 2016

I shop till my mouse says, please stop!

Image courtesy - indiatoday.intoday.in


Spending money is addictive, especially when you don’t have it. And who knows it better than Vijay Mallya! In this age of buy now, pay later or get beaten up by bank agents for defaulting, it’s tough not to succumb to the joys of shopping; the shortcut to instant happiness. It doesn’t help that the only thing stopping my impulsive buying urges is my will-power which is as weak as the Indian cricket team’s bowling order. I take solace from the fact that I am not engaging in wanton behaviour. On the contrary I’m fulfilling my social responsibility towards the downtrodden community of retailers and propping up the country’s GDP. The only way I can uplift them is by buying everything I don’t want. It’s easier to get Hrithik and Kangana to patch up than convince a woman that she has everything she needs for the next half a century. In fact the world of commerce thrives on our insatiable hunger. While the unevolved male of the species is content with a blue shirt in stripes, checks and plain, we cannot rest in peace till we have it in midnight blue, azure blue, navy blue, powdered blue, peacock blue and indigo. To make it worse, there’s the maddening variety of frills, snug fit, blouson, scoop-back, halter, polo, front-detailing to choose from. And the male has the audacity to wonder why we take so long to shop!

There was a time in my life when I thought I had achieved the unachievable. The very thought of going to a mall would made me sick. It wasn’t always like this. When shopping malls first started mushrooming in Gurgaon, they were the coolest place to hang out, literally! Rows of stores in swanky air-conditioned buildings with clean restrooms were a welcome change from Karol Bagh where you had to search for a deserted bye-lane every time your child wanted to pee. One could spend hours ambling through floors and floors of decadence and follow it with up a movie and dinner.

It didn’t take too long to discover, malls are like cathedrals. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. All of them have the same set of stores, the same aroma of stale popcorn and a sad corner selling donuts. Irrespective of the shopping mall’s location, its uppity quotient and parking challenges, there’s no way you can avoid the holy triumvirate of ‘Adidas/Nike/Reebok, Pantaloons and McDonalds.’


Just as I was looking forward to a life of austerity and observing the mating habits of pigeons on my balcony, online shopping discovered me. Initially it was just a pleasant diversion; a place to buy books and memory sticks or redeem vouchers that I had won at a contest I had completely forgotten about. Before I could dismiss it as yet another fling, I realised I was hopelessly lost and ready to commit myself into a lifelong relationship! To be frank, I tried my best to be Vishwamitra. But how long can you resist Apsaras tantalising you with unheard of offers and discounts? What you don’t know is, this is hotel California – “You can check-out any time you like - But you can never leave!” Once you’ve succumbed, they’ll never let you forget this transgression of yours. The silver danglers with orange beads, the tights in abstract print, and those slippers in pink will follow you like the Hutch puppy till you put your hands up and surrender.

There you are sitting in your cool-darkened room, trying to impress people you’ll never meet with your wit and wisecracks and then suddenly you decide to buy running shoes on a whim. And you do, with just the click of the mouse. Without having to step out, leaving carbon footprints, fighting over parking space and arguing with the salesman that you’re not being unreasonable for expecting high-impact shoes in a combination of purple and orange!

Once upon a time we had to plan for months, sometimes years before buying household appliances. Not anymore. These days you can just hop over to Amazon to checkout the air-fryer everyone’s been raving about. Before you can say ‘Bharat Mata kee Jai’, it’s in your shopping cart ready to be shipped.

Plus, the astounding variety of brands, styles is as available to Mehnaz in Mumbai as it is to Margaret in Mizoram. No longer does one have to be living in a metropolis to have access to high street fashion brands like Mango, Benetton, Michael Kors or Desigual. If you prefer affordable fashion, there’s pages and pages of it on the shopping site to choose from. Aur dikhao, aur dikhao was never this easy. The e-market place does not discriminate between Siraj with just 200 to spend or a Sonam with a budget of 20k. Can it get more egalitarian than this?

For me, online shopping is like a balm for my distressed heart constantly torn between love for multiple Maas (two legged, four legged and the nation). On days when I wonder if I’m an anti-national for not believing JNU is anti-national, I simply open a tab on the browser and start browsing for that perfect pair of jeans in brick-red to soothe my unpatriotic feelings! You’ll discover how often my heart is distressed when you come to my house and see my wardrobe bursting at its seams. Why, I have even bought furniture, cushion covers, table-mats, kitchen pots and pans, planters from online portals!

Time will come when we’ll tell our kids – can you believe it, once upon a time, your ancestors had to step out of the house and have actual money in their wallets to shop! It horrifies me to think what my Mom had to put up with. How could she be content with just 4 pairs of sandals! Imagine the anguish of walking into a store that doesn’t have 20%-70% off signage. Or worse, having to choose between three saris knowing fully well there are thousands of more deserving ones somewhere out there waiting for our purse strings to loosen up.

Or maybe not! The government has reiterated a set of rules regulating e-commerce marketplaces and my shopping urges. The new guidelines have effectively outlawed online marketplaces with FDI from giving discounts and luring us with “big-billion sales” – the opiate for shopping masses. I cannot thank Bharat Mata ki joys enough for freeing me from the clutches of my ‘shop till my mouse says please stop’ urges. Interestingly, while our PM is hopping from country to country telling one and all India is ready for foreign investments, the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP) is going out of its way to make it as difficult as possible for foreign funded players to survive in the Indian market.

Phew, this is such a relief. I can already visualise my future; a life dedicated to fruitful pursuits. Who knows, I might even come up with ‘Pigeon erotica’ and become the next E.L James!




36 comments:

  1. The shopping urges tend to subside for males but the love for new additions among females is on what the industry thrives:) Of course there are new breed of men too who go to Spas for hairdo, clearer skin and some other frills, though their numbers are still insignificant! A lovely narrative , Purba.

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    1. Guess what I did to overcome my guilt of shopping too often? I got the husband addicted as well :D

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  2. I must be an alien. I find these shopping sites so boring. I can hardly stay on them for 15 mins. And even if I add them to the cart,I never go beyond that point.

    My husband is fond of them too.. He is usually seen in the footwear or the electronics section... So by chance if I want something..I delegate it to him and its added in his shopping cart..

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    1. Not an alien, you are blessed!

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  3. I have had khatta meetha experience with on line shopping. While it's great for gadgets and electronics, clothes and costume jewelry purchases were disastrous. It's a nascent industry and likely to improve the shopping experience.

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    1. Since I'm a regular, I know what to buy from where. And I've had mostly good experiences.

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  4. i dunno why people are so obsessed with online shopping, one can never get the shopping experience of brick n mortar stores.after few years,all these online stores will die down soon and people will go back to the conventional one. i never bought things online and i felt that they are for people who are super busy with no time to buy things at nearest store or for people who can't walk due to old age or sickness or for people who don't have access to certain products.

    swiggy has made people more lazy and it will increase diabetics count by manifold.when i see the contemporary market ,it reminds me of WALL-E movie where people who left earth forget even to walk and live on mobile couch.

    it may be good for business houses, for people its a major shift in human behavior that will make life robotic.

    so why do women like shopping or take such long hours to get ready with makeup? may be gender related personality disorder or contemporary market sold them this disorder to look good with some chemicals.so conventional shopping is as fabulous as looking pretty without makeup.

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    1. BTW, I take just 5 minutes to get ready.

      I think online shopping is more about convenience than laziness. I'd rather meet my friends, eat at a nice restaurant than waste my time at a mall.

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    2. i never go to mall for shopping except for a movie in mall multiplex. there are exclusive stores for men at prime locations .so if i like wrangler,i go to wrangler store,its like am the only customer in a big shop.lots of silence and they are original and genuine stuff without discount and are long lasting. once i bought same wrangler stuff at mall at 40% discount,they din't last even three months..so i always prefer exclusive stores with no discount and lots of privacy in shopping.

      if i go by your logic,famous restaurants are always crowded and we have to book a table on DINEOUT. for convenience sake, one can order on swiggy or zomato. anything real ,shopping at a store or eating at a restaurant brings real experience and they are not equal to online stuff. :-) hope you don't consider this as an argument. :-)

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  5. This was one hell of a post Purba ! And good that you established your patriotic credentials too, in case anyone was in doubt :D
    And now for online shopping vs. Pigeon erotica.. the latter is probably easier on your purse strings. As for me, I have tried turning a blind eye to the continuous barrage like Vishwamitra did but I too am human and have succumbed to the temptation at times. Though I did find buying clothes online rather daunting..with respect to the size and the fit, I am quite happy to try out things which are not so size specific.

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    1. You'll never get the astounding variety you get online at a store. And all of them have size charts. If it doesn't fit you, you exchange :-)

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  6. Purba that was a fantastic piece about online and mall shopping-both of which have failed to attract me.But yes,it is so easy and quick that it must be easy to get addicted to it.

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    1. You are lucky, Indu. Maybe a time will come when I'll tire of all kinds of shopping.

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  7. LOL! I do love shopping online for the convenience...isn't that what retailers want you to have, so that they can sweetly fleece you?!

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    1. It is, isn't it? And variety you get online is mindboggling.

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  8. I have never done online shopping in India or for that matter here in Singapore Purba... But I have subscribed to some daily mailing lists... Like window shopping I do windows shopping.... Just see what's selling.. Hi hi

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    1. Smart girl!

      Orchard Road is a shopper's paradise.

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  9. It's been a long time since I actually stepped out for shopping! Sadly, I don't have a mouse to stop me! xD But, I'm glad such promotions are being restricted to an extent. My wardrobe has three sections. One that I've never worn. One that I usually wear and one that is yet to be delivered. :D

    Loved the post, Purba! :)
    Check out my blog sometime: www.expressinglife.in

    ReplyDelete
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    1. But what I love the most is the delicious dilemma of what to wear when it's time to go out :p

      Thanks for reading, Radhika.

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  10. Wonderful post Purba.
    My experience with online shopping has been good so far, initially i used to be reluctant but now anything you want to buy is actually a click away.
    Online purchasing is good but I sill prefer going to open shopping places like GK, Central Market, South Ex market. I don't like malls much.

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    1. I love going to Khan Market. Also, I never buy saris online.

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  11. Online or offline shopping is sure addictive...but you got it right the malls are all same and now with all the traffic odds ( and some even) better go online.

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    1. Precisely, who wants to brave the traffic rush, parking rush and shoppers rush :p

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  12. Thankfully I am not obsessed with shopping .. or maybe its NOT a man thing to do ... the only thing I have done often is go to the boxing day sales, and buy myself some jackets or suits.. other than that I depend mostly on my Sis to buy for me ... yeah I know I know I am lazy person BUt hey on other hand I let my sis have the fun of shopping and she can get out of her system the urges to shop :)

    Online shopping I am a bit wary I still like the idea of Seeing what I am buying or at least touching it before i pay .. You are right also every shop has this 70% off signs ALL year these days makes you wonder how much they were earning before ...

    BUT must confess that coming to india and shopping is sweet first of all a pound get changed to 100 so blissssssssssss :)

    Bikram's

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    1. And every time I feel the dress I like is too expensive, I simply convert its price to dollars. Works and how!

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  13. I don't like shopping online for clothes. I love trying all the clothes I buy. For other things, online shopping zindabad.
    Pigeon erotica would be so funny. Finally, the pigeons would get to play a lead instead of extras in a song. :P

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    1. I just need someone to communicate this to them so that they stop shitting in my balconies!

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  14. My husband is addicted to amazon.com. He orders all his gadgets, wires, cables and what not. I always catch him browsing through the electronics section of Amazon! Looks like I am the husband in the house worrying about my spouse's mindless spending habits.

    'Pigeon Erotica'? LOL!

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    1. I can count on you to read it, Anita. Promise me, you will,once it gets published?

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  15. Lovely post, Purba. I can confess shamelessly that I spend a lot of my free time browsing e shopping sites. Though it was easy to switch off and go back in the early days, now its more easier to just buy! It was my guilty pleasure, but I'm glad others share it too. Only side effect being, that I'm quite impatient and hence end up buying things the wrong size!As a result,I now have a parallel wardrobe for people of almost all sizes!:)

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    1. Look at the bright-side - you now have a wardrobe for a thinner you and a fatter you :p

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  16. An interesting post on what will (Not) make you stop till you browse and shop!! I never shopped online and quite wary of doing so:)

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  17. I leaned back in my chair, took a deep breath, and tried to think of all the things you have said in the post. With you, there are countless surprises hidden under the folds and stitches of innocuous little sentences, all over the page.

    To an extent, banks are responsible for enshrining the culture of consumerism symbolized and propelled by rectangles of plastic. The gleaming 'cathedrals', physical and online, are mere catalysts to the psycho-financial snafu. The logic has been extended to gigantic, pathological borrowers of the corporate world, symbolized by who other than Mallya. I suspect though, it's the banks rather than the delinquent who have taken a beating in the latter case. And I will leave it at that.

    Oh, and I also have to report I appear to be an evolved male of the species whose avarice is as stubborn and omnipresent as the droppings of pigeons, littered over the Amazons and the malls of this world. And since the banks have refused to enhance my credit limits, and should you feel I might be not too pesky an assistant, I offer to co-author that book you have been planning...

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  18. I loved your blog. Also shared it on my blog page, myhumerousbone.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete

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