I hardly ever read the newspaper. Any information I need, I get it much quicker and in a more accessible form on the internet. However, if I want a lazy read (read: excuse to point and laugh) I glance through the Bombay Times. And the last few days have been filled with ads screaming massive sales all over. I wanted to go check them out and the husband obviously refused to come along. The deal about my life in Bombay is that I have very few close women friends. None of them were too keen on going. Also, I’m not the one to get all excited about shopping. So I just let it pass. Saturday night, however, I got a call from a friend asking me if I wanted to go check out the sale at this super hip expensive store that I’ve only seen from the outside so far and I agreed. She also warned me that she had gone there the previous day but had to come back because it had gotten too crowded. So we both agreed to meet at 11.30 sharp outside the shop.I was so charged up and excited about going shopping that I finished all my chores (read: cooking breakfast & lunch) by 10.30. We both met outside the store at 11.30 and in my head, we were going to be the only 2 people at the store that early on a sunday. Boy, was I wrong! The store was already buzzing with action and women were all walking about with focus and a sense of purpose. Everyone was trying really hard to find that one thing they weren’t able to lay their hands on in whichever pile they were looking through, single shoes were strewn all over floor, people were tripping on hangers and other people’s children and the place looked like it was hit by a tornado. Not only were there women, there were loads of children, men and I even saw some really old people with walking sticks (not making this one up, I swear!). Unsure of what I’m exactly supposed to do, I followed suite and rummaged through the pile that was the closest to mine. The friend was a veteran and she said “pile up. You can take up to 10 garments at a time into the trial room.” I sorta didn’t see the point of taking so many clothes in at the same time cos I thought, hey, I can always go back in and try some more stuff later. Again, I was wrong. There were about 20 women standing outside the trial room all armed with their pile of clothes to try. So I rummaged through and picked up my pile of trial clothes and stood in line patiently. Tried them all on, didn’t like anything, thought I was done. The friend picked up something. So the next line had to encountered, the billing queue. I was exhausted by this time. This young mother, who was already carrying more clothes than she could handle, walked up to the billing line with her 5 year old. She turned to the child and said, “I want you to stand right here where mama can see you, ok? I’m going to be right there” and points in the general diection of the clothes racks. The child looked bewildered for a moment. But she assured the little one that she would always be in the line of sight and left quickly before the child could protest. The little one just stood there, not sure what she had to do or why she was just left there amidst all these people! And then it struck me, so this is why you bring young children and invalids to a crowded sale. So you can stand in one line and they can stand in another. I left the shop, with no addition to my wardrobe but definitely more worldly wise!