Shopping, especially one done at the festival time with bulging purses — after high pressure advertising — can be a delightful or disastrous experience. It brings more delight when what you get costs you much less than at other times. It becomes disastrous when the expenditure overshoots the budget. Even those who assiduously shut themselves from such ad campaigns yield to the pressure to do shopping — in some cases, to buy an almirah after termites have feasted on the ones at home.
Wherever one lives, the inferior wood that is used to craft ‘sexy’ furniture, is terribly prone to attack by white ants. The damage is never known to you beforehand like the worst physical affliction, namely, cancer. It is always too late before you discover that the worst is done and a removal of the existing matter is inevitable and a replacement is quite necessary. Then one waits to buy replacements when the discount sale is on.
You search the Internet and newspaper for the best offer in the town, visit showrooms, small and big, with the entire family. Small shopkeepers instil a fear in you because you realise that you have to think several times before you decide. The replacement is going to be expensive, your mind tells you. So the best showroom and manufacturer is the immediate target during this shopping adventure.
You are not jolted so much by the seller telling that it will take at least a week to deliver from the warehouse — the ‘no delivery charge’ mantra entices the customer. You place an order with the help of ever ready plastic money and come home singing that favourite tune.
Suddenly, the realisation dawns that the new addition to the living space will arrive only after a week. The place has to be cleaned up immediately because you firmly believe that termites breed in geometric progression and across your flat and even the whole building.
Finding a carpenter for an odd job is an impossible task. It is the better half’s turn to tell you now that you should pick up small skills like using a screwdriver and hammer and, if required, break up the cupboard yourself. Even if one takes up the challenge the sight of hundreds of termites in a small area drives you crazy. Because the almirah has not been opened for a long time, the entire place has been mercilessly spoilt. As if to give a seal of approval the kitchen side lullaby is, “You should have done something, before, as a precaution.”
The only redeeming feature is the support you get from the family members who previously liked only fashionable wooden articles. After seeing the army of termites it’s unanimously decided to lean in favour of strong and sturdy steel stuff. Soon word is spread among neighbours that wooden stuff are well-polished but bad in the long run. A resolution is passed to not go in for more clothes (at least for the time being). As space is an issue family members decide to part with old and worn out clothes. In the bundles rolling out of the cupboard are those which are sticking to each other and those which used to fit ‘once upon a time’. Then occurs vastra vairagyam, a dispassionate detachment from clothes.