They had red balloons and super-loud music the night of the inauguration. Not that Pune’s S.B. Road is always quiet, but being an office-office area, it is generally on the silent side. Yes it once had Pyramid and Store One, but both turned out to be too ill-fated to last long. I had been toying with a the-land-is-jinxed proposition when Pantaloons put my theory to dust.
Now a few months down the line, the green structure is well settled and much frequented. On an average evening, there are long rows of people seated outside. Quarrelling couples, fidgety children, rowdy college kids. There are more human heads to be seen out than amidst the sartorial pleasures that lie in.
So anyway, very happy about such nice clothes putting up so near my flat, I go out to say hello every once in a while. The workforce* that I meet there (or most malls I have been to for that matter) is as
irritating interesting as the designer collections stocked. Let me exemplify.
“We are the security guards.”
Every day of the first week, the security guards at the entrance are models of sugar. “Namaste Sir.” “Good evening Madam.” Salaam, hello, welcome.
You go in after a fortnight and they can’t be bothered to spare you a look. We get scores of you people each day. Silly clothes-oriented minds. This colour, that fitting, humph!
“I issue baggage coupons.”
The woman who issues baggage coupons is generally accompanied with a lady-purse-checker(s). Till date I am clueless about the supposed significance of the process. Unless you’re carrying a bomb the size of a full-grown jackfruit, its chances of being discovered are negligible. They don’t inspect wallets, don’t even look in all sections for that matter. It’s a customary check madam. Don’t I have anything better to do than go through your dirty linen in public?
“We ensure you get the best piece.”
There are without fail a couple of over helpful males and females near the clothes-sections. “Yes madam?” one will say as you pick up an interesting item of clothing . The look is sometimes so accusing you impulsively put it back. We need to be around you see. What if you discreetly smuggle things into your cavernous purse?
Maybe ‘assisted shopping’ is just not my thing. As long as I am given the sizes and/or colours I like, I appreciate some space.
“I regulate trial sessions.”
When you arrive at a trial room, the hangers are removed for you. The place abounds with know-it-alls. Right from “customer andar hai madam” (there’s a customer inside) to “usme wohi ek size hai” (we only have one size for that piece), they are instant with the replies. Never mind if you remember seeing a Small or a Medium tucked up in some corner. Arrey, I am too comfy in my seat to get going anywhere. Shoo away can’t you?
“I ferret out members.”
At the billing counter, you will always meet someone who wants you to take a membership card. “Lucky draw madam?” As the man behind the machine totals up your shopping, you will be asked if you want to pay less the next time. I have decided to get this done once and for good the next time I go visiting.
Outside, a chaat wala calls out to passersby. He asks for no coupons and indulges in no niceties. I order a papdi chaat. And miss the good old bazaars and melas Daddy took me to when I was smaller.
*all that is talked about here is meant in jest and not intended to be taken seriously. Everyone at Pantaloons (and other wonderful garment stores), thank you for the amazing additions to my wardrobe. 😀