Yesterday, the niece and I went to Hill Road in Bandra, in the evening, to purchase clothes and shoes and bags and such like of which we already had enough and more thank you, and a little more couldn’t hurt, could it. It started with the long and arduous auto journey from the back of the beyond where we live to Bandra, the suburb that is the happening place for shopping of this variety of recklessness. As we were being rattled around in said auto being driven at the speed of light over Mumbai’s potholed roads, by an autodriver who was channeling Vettel, and taking us around said Buddh track in Noida and such like. We listed off what we needed to buy. When I say we, I speak for her. I had no inclination to shop, having shopped my heart out in Goa. The best intentions of mice and men. As I have said before.
We hopped off at Hill Road to discover the roads bare. No stalls. I had been informed kindly by friends that said stalls bearing clothes and shoes and bags were packed across every square inch of road space making motorists get out of their vehicles and plead with folded hands for them to concede a few extra inches to allow cars to pass. No stalls. No bamboos across the road packed with hangers displaying t shirts of values so incredible that some handkerchiefs come more expensive. Surely something was wrong. I saw a grey painted truck zooming past and men spiriting away stalls and merchandise in most surreptious manner and cries of ‘Gaadi ayi Gaadi Aayi’ reverberating.
I pulled the child into a shop where we would be safe in case class action was carried out by said Municipal van wallahs in charge of clearing the streets of all stalls and stall owners. It happened to be a shoe shop. Just off Hill Road. Rows and rows of shoes. “I want wedge heels,” she said in her cute little sing song voice. The shop attendant brought down wedge heel after wedge in cute stripes, pinks, blues and other teenage colours that I would have gladly signed my soul away in triplicate to be able to wear without having children follow me down the road pointing and giggling. She narrowed in on one, asked the price and returned it reluctantly to its stand. “I’ve already bought too many shoes,” she said ruefully. I wanted to grab her hand and shake it vigorously for her admirable self restraint. I would have thrown all caution and sensibility to the wind and procured said item of footwear and then hidden it in some nice in the shoe drawer to be extricated many days later after I could handle the guilt.
We traipsed out of the shop. The demonic gaadi had disappeared and the stalls were setting themselves up. The niece saw signs which said any tshirt Rs 100 and bounded over to the stall with glee, rifling through Tshirts I would not be able to get one arm into the space meant for the torso. I hung around listlessly at the fringes until I found something that I had no size issues with. Footwear. Praise the lord that one can always find shoes that fit. Chappals. And shoes. And heels. And stilettoes. And cork soles. And wooden soles. And some bearing brand names of some bleddy reputed brands and looking and feeling much the same as the real stuff, at prices that were one third the real stuff. My heart leaped into my throat and did an awesome job of thudding around and knocking me breathless.
(To be continued….just because I’m out of time and have to go run pick up the child from school now.)