Shall I, shall I not. My mind was racing as I stood in front of a popular garment store contemplating a venture which my budget did not support. Devil and angel inside me placed their arguments as I thought about all the possibilities this could lead to, and all I could see was a postman standing outside my house with a legal notice from my bank. You must be wondering what is the big fuss about buying few clothes? Well, for that you need to scroll down to the next paragraph. Yes, I am just trying to keep these paragraphs short to create an illusion that the post itself is not too long, but soon reality will dawn on you as I have again exceeded my word count target, having said that I don’t see you making it to the end, nope.
A stroll in a city for me has always been fraught with predicaments as an invisible force pushes me towards the road which has an array of garment shops, and from there my shopaholic instincts take control of the situation. Someone said “when you desire something, the entire world conspires to help you.” Don’t know what the entire world is conspiring for me but it definitely gives the word “help” a whole new dimension. As I stood outside the shop for 15 minutes just like that mannequin kept next to me, I could empathize with all the recovering gamblers watching India – Pakistan match. Finally, I sought divine intervention and it came immediately. It came in the form of a billboard which read “just do it;” I complied. I ran past the shop which the divine providence was promoting and barged into the next one almost breaking the door. I dived in and grabbed as many clothes as my two hands could hold and then looked over my shoulders at those 5 sales guys staring at me.
With an air of authority I pronounced “I will try these.”
“Men’s section is upstairs sir.” All 5 of them replied in chorus.
My expression resembled an individual who just swallowed a bubble gum. I am not 100% sure but I guess I heard a faint snigger as I walked towards the men’s section. This time I picked up men’s garment i.e. dreary, out of shape clothes and moved to the billing section.
That cashier swiped my card and said “I think it doesn’t have enough balance, it says – do not honor.”
I retorted “Insufficient balance, on my card, hahahaha.”
That was supposed to be a sneering laughter but a quivering voice could only produce a bizarre sound (something which the ardent followers of Mickey and Donald show should be familiar with).
“Can you give me another card?” he exemplified perseverance.
I felt slightly disoriented because all my other cards were blocked for obvious reasons; a sudden and uncontrollable urge to drink water seized my thoughts. I could have terminated the process with the help of my middle finger, instead I added my index finger as well and said “give me two minutes.”
When 70% of your income goes into credit card repayments, you wouldn’t forget the payments you made, nor did I. I found myself standing next to that mannequin again calling up my bank to find out the status of the transfer I made, and ‘I-know-it-all’ kind of a guy from the other end informed me that the transaction was delayed due to some system maintenance, a universal excuse employed by all organizations to cover up varying degree of incompetence. He concluded by saying that he had rectified it and the money should reflect in my account in 2 minutes, he sounded more like RBI governor and of course there was no apology for the delay. I dawdled outside for 5 minutes giving them an additional 3 minutes buffer time. I went back, gave them the same card again and asked “do you really know how to swipe a card?”
Oozing with confidence in my new attire, I met some of my friends later in the night; it was a Chinese restaurant. As no one noticed my new clothes, the onus was on me to initiate the discussion. Hence I rose up and with an SRK signature move combined with a winning smile posed the question “so how do I look?”
They looked at each other, thought for a considerable period of time and then said “you know, looks are not important at all.” and continued with that vague answer covering various facets of inner beauty, trivializing the physical appearance; jealous. We moved on to the more important job in hand – food.
As usual, items were ordered with the help of index finger pointing at the menu card, as an attempt to pronounce those names would have further jeopardized Indo-China ties. After eating everything which was there in the kitchen including what was kept separately for the stray dogs my friends decided to go outside for some fresh air, which could have been a challenging task considering there was a garbage dump just opposite that restaurant. I asked them to buy a pack of cigarette for me before the shops were closed and stayed back to take care of the bill (which I usually recover within couple of hours). As the bill came and I handed over my card I went down the memory lane to the time when I swiped my card at the garment shop. I flinched in horror as there was hardly anything left in my card after that transaction. I tried calling my friends but they didn’t answer my call. I sought divine intervention again, but this time even he decided not to pay attention; “obviously why would you? You don’t have anything to promote now.” I muttered. I could see my future, I could see those polite and friendly waiters transforming into Bruce Lee. Few beads of perspiration formed on my forehead, I looked for a board which reads “customer is god” as a reference for future discourse, but in vain.
Desperate times, desperate measures; I looked for an emergency exit but as we were the last customers the restaurant was empty and I was surrounded by those smiling assassins throwing unwarranted questions “how was the food sir?” Food? Oh yes, we did have food. “I like this” I sputtered “respect for customer is the key. Customer is god.” They couldn’t fathom the anguish in my voice; they just smiled. I closed my eyes as one of those waiters came back. He handed me the receipt and said “please sign this sir.” I looked at the receipt in disbelief but quickly regained my composure. The grumbling attitude was back again as I asked him “do you guys sign with your fingers?”
Due to severe mental trauma I completely forgot that I asked for a higher credit limit, which the bank processed immediately after they received the payment. It was one of those numerous occasions when my banks saved me in the nick of time by increasing the credit limit stating ‘good transaction record’ which is a technical term used for ‘irresponsible spending.’