The other day, I was at Oberoi mall with a friend. We had an hour to while away before our movie, so I thought we could window shop a little. My friend is a man. He is one of those guys that form the basis for all male stereotypes. He wouldn’t stop to ask for directions (even to the loo in the mall), he wouldn’t pay attention to anyone if he was preening in front of a reflective surface (even if they were telling him the way to the loo in the mall), and he did have a one-track mind (he was a hearty raconteur of some dubious stories of what had happened between him and some Scandinavian lady in Pune – in a loo in a mall, I might add. I wonder how they got there in the first place – it’s not like he’d ever know the way.)
Anyway, considering I was with the embodiment of masculine cliché, window shopping was a little difficult to explain.
“You want to buy something?”
“If you don’t want to buy something, why do you want to get inside a shop?”
“Just to see…”
“Oh, I don’t know…see stuff.”
“What stuff? You want to buy something?”
“So what?”, etc. etc.
It got tiring after a while. I asked him to stay at the Gloria Jeans coffee shop (which is awful, by the way) whilst I checked out pretty clothes and pretty slippers and smelled fabulous creams. Ah!
But he was paranoid about me being late for the film (as if that would ever happen – I like to be in the hall even when they are showing some sketchy adverts of Dimple Cine advertising). So he tagged along.
Now, one of my very favourite stores in Oberoi Mall (or in all of Bombay, for that matter) is ‘Forever New’. It’s on the ground floor and has an exquisite collection of leggings! I don’t really wear them, but it’s lovely to just go there and see sheaths and sheaths of leggings in all sorts of pretty colours – cobalt blue, dove-grey, black, black with ribbed edges and lace, ivory, cream, beige, post-box red…They look so chic! And they have denims in really interesting cuts and fits and some gorgeous dresses and kerchief gowns!
The time I was there, though, they had added a new deity to their shrine - a pair of red and white-striped boots. Now, the combination is typically something you’d see on one of Noddy’s friends. But this one looked like it had trotted down its own little diamond-studded ramp, pirouetted in platinum spotlight, and then just glided down a smooth beam of ruthenium to crown that shelf.
Now, when I come across anything great in a store, I treat it like great news. This means that I need to share it with someone that very minute. If I’m not with someone at the time, I send messages or I call or I spontaneously make new friends to share the good news with. It’s too joyous a feeling to keep it to yourself!
But my friend at the time was giving me this extremely pained look one associates with bad bladder. The movie was about to begin and we had to go three flights up and of course, we couldn’t be late.
Whilst going up, though, I spotted a dress in the store I hadn’t noticed because I was gawking at the shoes. It was a lovely, knee-length off-shoulder dress in satin. It was aquamarine with small silver flowers sewn on the bodice. The way it demurely snug the mannequin was phenomenal! It was more than good-looking. It was a dress to which you would dedicate a hundred years of living without desserts. It was a dress you would write an epic poem for and savour your last moments on earth with. The dress was stunning beyond measure.
I couldn’t help it, so I turned to my friend and told him excitedly, “Isn’t that beautiful! That tight-fitting, off-shoulder dress? That one there – with the silver flowers on the bodice? Isn’t that gorgeous?”
My friend whipped around like a crazed cat and started hankering, “Where? Where? Where?”
I pointed to the store. There is nothing better than sharing a moment of beauty with another fellow human-being.
My friend, however, was very deflated. He snapped, “If a dress like that doesn’t have a woman in it, don’t bother pointing it out.”
Oh well. Pearls before ….