Shopping is rejuvenating, therapeutic as well as fun! Even if one is not inclined to spend much, just window shopping can give one some kicks, besides, the rush of adrenalin to be accosted by the very sight of adorable niceties! With the festive season about to commence, the traders are getting geared up for a long spell of sales, discounts to push their sales graphs!
During the times in school we looked forward to this period with most eagerness knowing that the annual sale at Khadi Bhandar would commence from 2nd Oct and we would rush to buy the shirts, kurtas and other things! Also, the local markets and some upmarket areas in Delhi like NDSE, pitched sales for the jeans costing as low as Rs 15/- each, which may sound as if I belong to the age of dinosaurs! I remember once having saved my pocket money to take my brothers for purchase of cloth for stitching shirts! It would be fun to visit places like Karol Bagh, Connaught Place and Chandni Chowk to return with a feeling of bewilderment!
The love for window and minimal shopping continued while visiting Brigade Road, MG Road and KG Circle in Bangalore, Anna Salai and T Nagar in Chennai, Hazrat Ganj and Aminabad in Lucknow! The locals called it ‘Ganjing’! The smells of local foods and sweet shops would set the hunger pangs on fire! I remember always overeating my share of Idlis and Dosa in South and Chaat in Lucknow, Bhelpuri and Pavbhaji in Mumbai even if I went for a shopping worth just Rs50/-
When I got an opportunity to see the world, Downtown Manhattan, SoHo, Chinatown in New York worked like a magnet, with unbelievable array of goods! Faneuil Hall and Copley Place in Boston were difficult to resist! The unbelievable discounts at Macys would leave my already stretched resources to a rock bottom by the end of the day!
Khan El Khalili is a bigger version of Chandni Chowk in Cairo and the sight of freshly made Khobz( local bread) goes for miles! Bukit Bintag in Kulalumpur , Mustafa in Singapore, and Pratunam and Siam Centre are infectious and best avoided if one does want to feel like a pauper by the end of the day! Exotic tropical fruits in Male in Maldives and Seychelles are feast of eyes and one is tempted to buy even if it is difficult to carry them! Huge piles of dry fruits and sight of fresh preparation of Falafel compete hard to draw the attention of tourists in busy Caramel Market in TelAviv.
Just for window gazing and having coffee, there is no place better than Galeries Lafaytte and Champs Elysee in Paris! If you are lucky, you may even end up watching a fashion show for free at Galeries Lafayette during promotions of new beauty ranges and dresses! The world is a market and the show goes on forever, can best be experienced at La Boqueria in Barcelona crammed with local foods, Harrods in London for the priciest branded items, Queen Victoria Market( lovingly called Vic market) in Melbourne and Victoria building in Sydney , eye popping crystals in streets of Prague, Luxury brands and watch stores in Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, glittering Gold Souk in Deira in Dubai, fragrance of Tulips in Amsterdam, and many more!
Floating Markets in Bangkok, midnight bazaar, weekend bazaar and unbelievable crowds at the odd hour give a feeling of how much to buy and how little we have in our pocket! Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong, Odel and House of Fashion in Colombo are places that must be avoided if you are in company of your wife or children else, even the biggest dollar note in the pocket will vanish before you realize what struck you.
There is only one problem during family shopping that the man ends up standing in a corner after a while carrying his wife’s purse and a wailing child while she is busy in selection!
The last word comes from the sex siren Bo Derek who once said’ Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping.'