It was a crisis situation for us, my father and me, yet again. It was 10 pm and I needed a waist belt as I had an interview the next morning. Luckily, we were in Gurgaon and 2200hrs is not all that late here.
We entered a newly opened three floored imposing Mall(or Ma-al as my father prounces in Desi Style). Three escalators up the lane, we reached the Belt Counter. While I checked the lengths, my father checked the price tags.
"Kitne ka hain?", my father asked for the one I selected.
"695/- Sir", the salesboy with a dude style replied.
"Woh to Print Rate hain." I couldn't believe. He was bargaining here. HERE.
"Sir there are no discounts at present."
"Bahut mahenga hai!"
"Sir this is pure leather."
"ye 300 ka hai...aur Pure leather hai" He said pointing to his waist belt.
I sidelined. How in the world could he bargain! This was so INDECENT!
"Sir this is ELAN. Its a big brand.", the salesboy tried to justify. He was caught unawares. It wasn't hard to guess that it was the first time a customer was asking such questions to him.
I had to intervene. "Papa yahan ye sab nahin hota." I was almost scolding him. That made me realise that sth. has happened. I, who always criticized malls and the whole hollowed poshness, was in team with the them and against my father. How come?
We asked him for a punching machine(thanx to my patli kamar), but he didn't have one then. They sent us to the another- corner-of-the-earth-they-owned for the billing but the items were 'Not Updated on the System'. So we went to yet another corner for manual billing. This little mismanagement made me quite at ease. I got it! It was the MALL CULTURE. It had made me part of itself. When you enter you see elites with trollies, salesboys more smartly dressed than you are, the extravagantness of the building, and thus to be normal you become one with them all.
They often say India is either Rural or Urban( or, elistist or leftist as one of my friends put it). I wasn't really urban for I rarely shop more than necessity and I wasn't really rural for i don't ask for discounts or check price tags. I love Pizza Hut and I often go there in filthy faded pyjamas. I use Dove and H&S(ya, sometimes i do take baths) and like dining on floor. I have flied a few times by air and I have travelled an awfully lot many times in ordinary buses.
So Where Did I Belong?
I know what Robert M Pirsig would call me. A platypus.
P.S. When we were returning, my father asked why did i call them Maw-aul. I said they are spelt as M A A L. He said that every tourist destination has a Ma-al Road. I realised the root of that Desiness. and I realised i was part of it.