My mother called last evening, her voice pepped up and drenched in saccharine.
“What will you get me from Delhi? “She asked. She reminded me of my own childhood self. When I was 7 and she returned from the Ascent Computer Classes every evening with her bulky red old handbag slung over her drooping small shoulder, I’d tug at her knees and ask her what she got for me from town. I believed that our town was a cluster of toyshops and chocolate factories with a few general stores squeezed in between.
“Oooops. “My mother would say, “I forgot. ”
I noted it in my diary every single time she forgot my chocolates. After some time, I ran out of diaries, so I stopped recording.
“I’m out of cash, Maa. All because of your ideal Prime Minister. “I grumbled. At first I thought demonetisation was a good move with a few loopholes, but it’s been almost a month now, and when I see the wreckage and the wound in the diseased yellow eyes of this old balloonseller in my area, I feel bad.
“Don’t give me that. “She said. She apparently didn’t give a fuck about demonetisation. I wondered if I should tell her about the balloonseller.
“Had it been your wife asking you….sons are so insensitive these days. You inherited this from your father. ”
“Alright! What do you want? “I resigned. Because you don’t reason with a mother. Plus, she was right about the wifey thing. I’d have probably sold myself to get my wife her favourite eyeliner.
Okay. That is a new word. It seems like a verb, the past form of Steal. Is it a lingerie? Kill me if it is a lingerie!
“A what? “I asked.
“A stole. It’s like a scarf but bigger than that. It’s like a shawl but smaller than that. “She explained.
I was filled with wonder as to learn that such a thing even existed, and it had a name that defined its size, like the mugs of Starbucks.
“What does it cost? “I wanted to know if I was still going home with both my kidneys intact.
“Not much. ”
“Can’t you settle for nail polish or something? “I tried to bargain.
“I am pretty sure you’ll throw me to an old age home once I’m 60. ”
“I got it. I’m bringing you the stole. “I promised her.
Now people, buying a stole is actually a Roadies level task. An amateur can’t do that without a help. So I took Rohit with me, and we ambled towards that part of the market which had garments for ladies.
The road was crammed full. On both sides, there were dummies clad in dotted bras. There was a black nightwear that I wanted to buy and save for my future wife. There were shopkeepers clutching undergarments and waving them over their head, yelling the prices at the top of their voice. It seemed like a place cops raid to bust sex rackets. I moved ahead and found some decent shops.
“That one. “Rohit pointed at the least crowded shack. We went there.
“We don’t sell stoles. We sell purse. Ladies purse. “The shopkeeper spoke curtly, stressing the second last word. Of course he sold purse! I mean there were purses all over! I felt like stupid.
“Okay. Where do we find stoles? “I asked. He pointed at the opposite shop, where a dozen women were already flipping through the dresses on the round clothing racks. All of them stared at me in horror as I picked up a stole and plonked it at the counter. The only male in the shop was the shopkeeper.
“For my mother. “I explained to him. He nodded and handed me a glamorous cash memo.
I don’t know if my mother would like the stole or not, but the next time she asks me to buy a tunic or a gown, I’ll prefer to shop at Amazon.