18 August, 2011

Nikhilesh at ‘Splash’

For the uninitiated, ‘Splash’ is a store (part of the Landmark Group, the $2.5 billion retail conglomerate in the Middle east….aha...the MBA touch aka “I can Google very well”) on MG Road that has a lot of international clothing lines, the only two which I recognized were U.S.Polo and Bossini…and other brands that must be real big.

A friend and I went on a shopping spree over the weekend to take full benefits of all the super sales going around town. Well, considering the number of shops we went to, I’m not sure if it qualifies as a spree. For me, buying more than one article of clothing is a spree. So, we’re going to refer to this day as a shopping spree. Towards the end, we ended up at Splash. One needs to note that this is the first time I am entering this store. Like a young lion(or chimpanzee) bred in captivity, being released into the wild, I trudged in with caution. Splash is not the kind of store I would normally visit. We did read earlier that the only party wear I own is a new ‘red shirt’ and an old ‘blue shirt’.

Anyway, we enter Splash. I must say, this is the most fun I have had standing around a store and not buying anything. I was having a stand up comic running sketches in my head. OMG. For starters, the place reminded me of an Asian paints showroom. All those colours. Being a fairly boring person when it comes to clothes, I’m used to blacks, blues, reds,whites, and the occasional green. Even this is 3 colours more than what the average male considers as a colour. This place was something. The same dress design is lined up in only what can be described as a colour pencil set. Starts with white and moves on to shades of pink, then orange, red, yellow….and goes on and on. (Please do not correct me saying that the colour I saw was ‘scarlet’ and the other one was ‘mauve’…we all know, it’s ‘Leviooooosa’ not ‘Leviosaaaa’. ) I look around, friend clearly notices that the wheels in my head are turning at a pace that I’m not quite used to. This is indicated by the Grinch like smile on my face….friend chooses to ignore. That’s when I start with the silly questions.

First, I notice this dress that looks like a jump suit, or something the guys in Ghostbusters wore, except that it has got floral prints. Turns out, that’s fashion. For whom? Lady plumbers? No, actual normal women. Go figure! I could only imagine someone jumping off a high storey building and being able to glide to safety in that dress. Something like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider 2. My friend pulls out this shirt from a lot, and for some odd reason asked my opinion. My observation, “What size is that?” It was apparently a large. I thought it best not to be uncouth and say something like,” Dudette, that’s as big as my hand-kerchief”. I feel really sorry for larger girls who will never be able to fit into that shirt, no matter how good it may look. Sisters, I share your pain. Most of the clothes there resemble what one would buy at a baby shop. I even saw sweaters and jackets that really don’t seem to serve the primary purpose of covering up from the cold.

The height of jokes running in my head was when I saw this purse with so many tassels, that it reminded me of a cowgirl in a “religious movie”….yeehaw! Apparently, people do buy that sort of thing. Sensing that I was quite clearly of no use in having a decent opinion, my friend told me to go off and check out the men’s section. They had one???? I could not tell the difference with all the purples and light pinks with a satin sort of finish. And not to mention the bling. There were t-shirts…for men….straight men…with bling on them. The only 3 types of bling a man must wear are:

(1) The ring of power forged in the fires of Mount Doom (The ‘Lord of the Rings’ ring)
(2) The Green Lantern ring
(3) The Iron Man suit

I see no other reason for a man to wear bling. But that was all I saw. What’s insulting is that they stop at ‘L’ size. I don’t think anyone there has heard of the concept of ‘XXL’. The only wearable shirt was in the U.S.Polo section. I know, you women think I’m some sort of a philistine. That may be so. I almost bought two shirts with the exact same design, but in different colours at another store. My friend shops at Splash, she would not allow it. The “Go ahead and buy that if you want” was enough for me to pick another design.

Somewhere in all this, yours truly had a sort of Eureka moment. (No, there was no running stark-naked through the store). I think I may have understood why women take so long to shop and maybe even to dress up. You gals have choices. When you walk into a store, like the one I walked into, you have something like 30 different colours of the same dress, and each is of subtle difference in shade as it progresses up the light spectrum. The only thing that comes close is Baskin Robbins with their 31 flavours of Ice cream. I may be wrong on this, but we men don’t have very many colours we can wear without standing out in a crowd. And that’s not always a good thing. Now assuming that you girls found “THE” colour, there is a question of size, and fit and so many parameters that I’ll have to write a program on an IBM super computer to match them all. Plus there is the problem of competition from other women, where you can’t be seen wearing the exact same dress design with the exact same colour bought at the exact same store .Just thinking of it gave me a near concussion.

If you think I’m being patronizing and am mocking women, I’m not. Here’s how I was able to relate to this problem of choosing. I underwent the exact same trauma a few months ago when I bought the PS3. “Xbox 360 with Kinect” v/s “PS3 with Move”. I nearly died trying to choose. There were so many pros and cons. All my friends had Xbox, but PS3 was a better console, Xbox had ‘Halo’ while PS3 had ‘God of War’. Xbox had a media center, but PS3 could play Blu-Ray discs. Do you see what is happening here? I was so torn as to what to choose. So if there is anyone out there who gets what the big deal about shopping is, it’s probably me. How do you people do it? All those colours.

And also, you guys wear this shawl type thing which is called a ‘Stole’. You buy a ‘stole’ at a discount sale where almost 70% of the price is knocked off, it’s a ‘steal’. See….I can’t make bad jokes with the clothe types we men have. We have full-sleeve shirts, half-sleeve shirts, T-shirts, trousers, shorts and bermudas. I can only make triangle jokes with Bermudas.

Anyway, closing statements are in order after that verbal diarrhea. Imagine the live feed running in my head when I was actually in the store. If there was a server running twitter feeds in my head, oh boy it would have crashed. Two times over. I do sympathize with men who have to wait on women who shop, but guys, it’s not their fault. They just have way too many choices presented to them. While this is indeed a red letter day in terms of shopping for me, I do hope I learn enough about woman’s shopping before I am expected to have a proper opinion and not have a Russell Peters meet Jeff Dunham show running in my head. I’m not very good at holding back silly thoughts in my head….hence this blog.

12 August, 2011

It’s always best to encourage a good mood

Times are indeed tough. When I came out of college a year ago, the world was just recovering from a recession. I could some how wrap the idea around my head that I will not be making as much money as I would like to. A year on, the bloody recession is back and guess who is left feeling like they’ve made all the worst choices in the world? Anyway, its times like these that require one to be as cheerful as possible. If you’ve read some my previous post, you would remember that post attending my friend’s wedding in the north, I have this new found sudden urge to actually enjoy hindi film music and break out into a song and dance when people are not looking.

Despite the rather dull weather in town, the last few days see me wanting to listen to more hindi music than my usual Pearl Jam or Foo Fighters. By hindi music, I generally mean one song. I seem to have gotten the ‘Senorita’ song from ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ stuck in my head and have been playing it on and on in the car, even performing a little dance when the traffic is going no where. The inherent problem with such behavior is that I seem to forget that I don’t have dark tinted windows and that people ( by people, namely office going dames on scooties or other cars) can see me behave like a moron. I realized my dancing skills are very similar to Barney…..oh, not the cool dude from HIMYM, but Barney the dinosaur.

I did not realize this until this girl on scooty next to my car this morning started laughing. Thank you very much….and you ask me why I don’t go to discos or dance in public. I don’t know how long she was watching, but I stopped and was all ‘knight in shining armour’ (fat dude in old metal car) and allowed her to pass on ahead…. a luxury not given to very many bikers if I have my way. And why? Not because I am a nice fellow, but so that I could go back to singing at the top of my voice and dancing in my car seat….while driving. It’s not often that a good mood comes along without me either being drunk or having bought a new electronic item….and I am in no mood to let it go away that easily.

PS: To all ye conspiracy theorists, no, I’m not getting married and no I’ve not fallen in love.

03 August, 2011

Let sleeping dogs lie…aka…the ‘blue’ shirt syndrome

Some time end of May, I attended a friend’s wedding. Being the owner of a 4 wheeler meant I was expected to play chauffeur to another friend who wanted to get all decked up and go in a Saree. (You’re reading this blog and you know who you are….BTW, I’ve not mentioned that you made me wait for over an hour on a Sunday evening when I could have been home watching football). I pick the girl up and head towards the wedding hall which is on the other side of town.

Half way through, my friend, who was all fancy in a saree and stuff starts screaming at me. Readers please note that I was kind enough to switch to the hindi station on the radio and not mention a word about how I was made to wait (which apparently is considered normal…”in which world????”). The reason I was being yelled at was because I was wearing a blue shirt, jeans and sneakers. The article of clothing that was in question was this blue shirt that my friend points out; I apparently wear to every wedding or reception I attend.

Guys will be guys, I honestly did not care. Some one like me does not attend very many parties (namely 2 a year….one of them being new year) or formal functions like this, so I don’t see the point in investing in fancy shirts for such affairs. I own this one blue shirt, kind of fancy, that goes well with jeans and trousers and is worn to all weddings. I however, did not notice this trend until I was being yelled at in my own car by a woman who made me wait for over an hour and then listen to hindi film music on a drive to the other end of town.

Post the wedding, I went back home to look through photos from the weddings attended earlier this year. Turns out she was right. Barring one wedding where I had worn the blue shirt the previous evening, I’m there with the same blue shirt in every photo. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Blore…goatee, no goatee, stubble, clean shaven….jeans, trousers, shoes….all change; but the blue shirt remains the same. It was all fine, and life would have gone on for many years with my blue shirt….but nooooo….some people are not happy about that. Heck, I may have even worn that blue shirt to my own wedding reception should I ever come to that bridge in life.

I find it very scary that women notice all these things. Very scary. I’d like to point out that out of fear, I have bought a red shirt with a fancy finish. You will now see me with a red shirt in all weddings going forward…..or until the next person yells at me for wearing it for more than one event. The next time any of you have an issue with what I am wearing; you are free to take me shopping and buy me clothes.

(PS: Not the blue shirt in the pic below)