Observed at the Phoenix Mall at Parel during high noon: tween female dressed in a pink, white and lilac floral dress with a matching hat worn nonchalantly indoors, and a middle-aged woman in a floor-length, voluminous anarkali made of floaty multi-layered tissue-material in blue, lime green and gold, and trimmed with pearly tassels.
This is the fierce conversation they had right outside the trial rooms, where I was waiting in line to try on my single measely outfit:
Tween: I still have three more dresses to try! You call Madanji for the Audi if you’re in a hurry.
Older woman: Madanji is having his lunch. If you want to stay you can come home in a taxi. I am taking the Mercedes.
Tween: Dadi said the Mercedes is for me today!
Older woman: It is my car, not Dadi’s. Are you coming or staying?
Tween: [sweeps every outfit at hand into a shopping basket and stomps off towards the payment counter]
Older woman: [raising her voice after her ^] I should’ve left you in London like last year!
The clothes that the girl picked up in the fifteen minutes she spent casually strolling through the aisles, and then swept into her check-out basket without trying on or apparently caring about, cost half my salary at my last job – the one I worked full-time at. I know, because I walked to the shelves after she left, and checked the price tag out of perverse curiosity. But still, had she stayed back, she’d have to go home in an Audi. Imagine the pain.
The other half, eh? How distraughtly they live.