Monday, March 28, 2011

'Ghar gatta'

A typical Wal-Mart discount department store i...Image via Wikipedia
Remember that irritating game which I am sure anyone who has had a close in age sister in the house knows about. The whole mini house-hold set-up thing with tiny pots and pans, gas cookers and plastic vegetables where your sister could pretend at running a house for her dolls was called "Ghar gatta" or "House" in its international avatar. To top it all, your sister would have the nerve to invite you to join in and you would run away to stand in the verandah with a foul expression on your face wishing that you had a brother instead with whom you could play "Chor police" with your toy guns. This behaviour unfortunately gets back to you one day as you will find out, an unavoidable reality in a time bound assignment based job like mine.
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The greatest thing about being a working tourist like me is that you have all the weekends to yourself; to look forward to, to travel, to explore your surroundings and be footloose in general free from the chores & maintenance planning that a permanent resident of the area is subject to. The worst part of being a working tourist is that you are still bound by social conventions to plan for your rented accomodation such that you can survive there for the 5 days of work which finance your wanton weekend wanderings.
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So once again I found myself in an empty, newly refurbished apartment enjoying the feeling of huge unutilized spaces. The carpeting is brand new and the rooms still smell of fresh paint. There is a sense of a new beginning in here. So far so good. Then I discovered that the house is infested with cupboards and shelves which I knew somehow need to be utilized, and that is where the stress starts to build up. I realized that I need cooking utensils, crockery, a table and some chairs, a table lamp, an Internet connection, a mattress etc etc - the list grew beyond the line of my eyesight within a few brief seconds. Sadly it seemed that I needed to make notes now and sat down to put down my requirements on paper. The monetary part of the new settlement was only a minor issue, the major pain was that to fulfill my needs, it was time to go - horror of horrors - shopping!
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Our neighbourhood Super Walmart is an intimidating place with massively long aisles packed with an infinite variety of goods in a mind boggling combination of prices. My method of shopping involves looking at my list and then grabbing the first brand I see of that category. Admittedly a very flawed technique but there's only so much patience I can show when it comes to hanging around in a shopping mall wasting precious weekend travel hours. Fortunately there was expert help at hand in the form of a female colleague who marches through the super-market like she owns the place. Her husband and me trail along dazed and disinterested as she darts about from one corner of the huge product filled spaces from here to there. She was truly in her element. "You need salt, right?" she asks all of a sudden. I look at my super well planned shopping list to find it missing and answer with a sheepish "Oh yes, salt!" Then she enquires "Sugar?" Yes, that's not there on my list too, so another "Oh! Sugar!" is due. "Coffee, surely?" she goes and a quick check to find it absent means that I am on the verge of tearing my hopeless list up and handing my wallet over to her to buy what is called for. I somehow restrain my impulses and smile.
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But it's hardly over yet. There is stuff that I pick up from an aisle or two and the relevant advice from the expert turns out to be "Don't buy vegetables from here. We'll go to Trucchi's next. It's better quality there." or "Why buy this? You can get this stuff from the Dollar Store!" and such like. What, so there's Trucchi's and the Dollar Store to go to after all this??? You can almost see the rising shopping fever in her eyes! Sometimes you feel like even though you are saving many a dollar in this manner; after you turn 40, the high blood pressure medical treatment that all this is leading to is going to cost you a hell of a lot more. I should have thought about it before I invited female company to go shopping. By now it was too late.
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The day of dread was finally done and giving credit where it's due, the expert advice has made my new apartment a completely equipped and livable place without breaking my bank. I also have the raw materials, resources and instruments to cook anything now (on paper) but the fall-back on Maruchen Ramen & home delivered pizza is inevitable. For the majority of the week, I play this obnoxious game for which I have had a life long aversion so that I can be that kid in the verandah again for those two glorious days of freedom which follow the work week. Here I am, living through the cruel joke that the regular life pulled on me, playing "Ghar gatta".

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5 comments:

Kunnu said...

truly understand ..what u went thru..

haha... :)

Well written as always :)
Luckily..my company does not give so much unused space in the apartment..haha

prateek said...

Your writing is getting better by the day.

Plz. do pursue it seriously.

Kumar Bibek said...

My rule: Never go shopping with women. Save time. :D

Roy said...

@Kunnu: Thanks! Believe me, the lesser the space the better!

@Mishra: Thanks so much. Am serious about being serious about my writing! :)

@Psycho: My lesson: Never go shopping with women. Save time. :D

Kunnu said...

@psycho and roy - my experience says..never go out with women..u dont know when the shopping bug will hit them..otherwise..set the ground rules first. haha :D