I am officially an ASS when it comes to shopping! More so.. when it is Shoe-Shopping!
Darn things are so hard to choose! There's a red one, one with a bow, the twitchy strap-ed one, the one with a 2 tonne sole, and the one with a real hard frontal which is known euphemistically to be "unkind" to the person who might be involved in a brawl with the owner of the pair.
So when the mochi bhaiya said he just couldn't put any more stitches on the body and amputating another piece of leather to give it a lil more life would tantamount to barbarism, I had to let go of my favourite pair of shoes :-( ! They all end up being my favourites, I tell you! There has not been a single pair that I bought that I have loved any less. Precisely the reason I give my parents why I take so much time to shop for them. "Shop" ?? Please.. how rude can that be.. I 'hand-pick' those babies..! ;-)
Apparently I was off to Chennai in a few days, so that hurried up the decision to pay a visit to my shoe-shopping addas, Yusuf Sarai & Sarojini Nagar the same evening. My mother, apparently wary of the time I took in selecting a pair, decided to give the visit a skip, citing "kitchen-work" as a reason. Hello! When did women get so bad at lying... Kitchen work stopping women from going to a place full of shops & clothes ?? Bah...!
We skipped Yusuf Sarai this time and headed straight to SN Market. Scouting the shoe-shops on the periphery gave us an idea as to what was “in” this season.
After 5 odd shops, I decided that we shouldn’t waste time and go to our usual shop. So we negotiated the Friday night rush of people, briskly walking to our destination.
Now, SN Market crowd is a curious mix of people.
1. There will be the one-odd gora-gori couple being festooned by “original leather belt” and “Rayban Aviator” salesmen, like honeybees crowding around a flower;
2. then there will be the group of single boys and girls window shopping and giggling;
3. the family junta with the daddy, mummy and 2 kids (or more) going into toy shops and electronics stores;
4. the group of auntyji’s or the recently married couple seen hogging on golgappas and chaat pakori, anything for that matter;
5. the 20ish something boyfriend-girlfriend group with the BF tagging along the GF to clothes stores;
6. and yes there are women going into Chacha Saree Bazaar as well.
For one, Sarojini Nagar Market and the adjoining Babu Market has like a billion shops for the female species. You just land there and kick me if you don’t find yourself buried under a pile of suits, blouses, sarees, kurtas, kurtis, shorts, tank-tops, tube-tops, and the gazillions other knick-knacks that you girls love donning or blinded by the colours that hit you straight in the face. I am sure, the salesmen there will convince you to buy a suit piece atleast, even if you are like a 60 year old bachelor with no prospects of female company, whatsoever. And OK! I donot know the difference between a kurta and kurti.. Agreed!
So after negotiating several lanes, by-lanes, under-the-tree chaiwallahs, & Cycle momowallahs, we managed to get into the shop that was going to be our respite from the menagerie that Sarojini Nagar becomes on a weekend. The owner knew me well to the point of my eccentric decision making skills. He was calm! He knew I would take my time! I scouted the racks for that one pair that could capture my attention. Rows after rows, shoe after shoe.. I rummaged through several and even tried a few pairs . . . but none felt good enough. Some were not my style, some not comfortable, some not available in my size. My dad & sister finally thought that we needed a change of environment and that we should head elsewhere. They bid the shopkeeper goodbye, who from the corner of my eye heaved a sigh of relief at his most pesky and finicky customer finally walking out.
I then ran my hands through stocks of 10 more shoe shops. Then... suddenly at the 10th shop I spotted a pair in red & black, just the perfect styling, simple yet elegant, not overdone one bit and rugged as hell to withstand the monstrosities that I would be doleing out. It was the perfect candidate to be on my feet. Oooooh! I immediately asked the bhaiya for one in my size to try on and definitely take back home with me. "27 wala design 8 number me diyo" the sales guy called out and the guy above us in the ceiling stock room began shifting boxes. I looked over to my side and saw boxes being flung by the stock room guy over the heads of unwary customers and it still managed to hit none of them. Classic old-school skill!
After a few tense moments of crossed fingers, it came down to the fact that they did not have one in my size and the stock wouldn't be around for another 2 weeks. I was ready to wait, but my folks were looking at me like they would strangle me if I didn't buy one today. So I tried getting my feet into the shoe size that was there, but it just wouldn't get in, how much ever pushing or shoving I did. So we walked out of another store!
I had lost all hope of finding my pick today. After close to 3 hours, we were back to where we had started. Shopkeepers were starting to haul down shutters. My eyes went up to the glowboards that dotted the Sarojini Market skyline. Quetta Store, The Nike Store, Chacha Saree Bazaar, Samsung Electronics, Bata Store. We had crossed the Bata showroom twice that evening, but had decided against going inside. We went in this time. I browsed through the designs. There was this one all-black sneaker, that I kinda took an instant liking to. A pair came out in my size. Tried it on. Fitted perfectly. Comfortable! I paid ! And we were off! The Quest had ended! My daddy and sister raised their heads towards the sky and thanked the Gods!
After skimming through 230 odd pairs, Karan had finally found his match!