I had to deposit a cheque in the bank. I stopped in front of the bank but there was no space to park my scooter. I had to go ahead, park the scooter and walk back. My wife said that she would wait near the scooter. I dropped the cheque in the drop box, returned and kicked the starter. “Wait a minute” said my wife “We are right in front of BATA. Let me go in and see if I find something suitable.”
BATA always attracts her. I should have been careful while parking.
“You have at least two dozen pairs at home. Do you really need another?”
“Don’t exaggerate. I certainly do not have more than fifteen. And I can’t use them for walking”
“Can’t use them for walking? What do you use them for?”
“I mean when I go for a walk. All of them are either rain wear, casuals or to be used for occasions. I had only one pair which I was using for my walk and it is torn.”
“Go have a look. I will wait here.”
“Instead of standing here why can’t you come in and help me choose something?”
I followed her dutifully into the shop.
After going around the shelves labelled ‘50% discount’ and finding all of them in size ten I joined my wife in the ladies section.
“What are you actually looking for?”
“I told you that I need something comfortable which I can use for walking.”
I went through the shelves and after examining several pairs, I picked out one and handed it to her. “This looks good for me.”
“Looks Ok. But the sole is very hard. I can’t use these for long walks.”
I picked another pair making sure that the sole was soft. She turned it around in her hands. “This does not have a toe ring. I am not at all comfortable with one without a toe ring.”
These two conditions eliminated a major part of the stock. After searching some more I found a pair having soft soles and toe rings.
“How can you call this a lady’s foot wear? It looks so masculine. I said that I want something which suits ME.”
“But this was in ladies section, right here.”
“These shop fellows have no sense. At least you should have.”
“Why don’t you buy a pair of shoes? I think the choice is better there.”
“I have shoes. I am looking for something which I can use as casual wear as well as for a walk. Say, when I go to the temple and then continue for a walk or visit someone and then go on for a walk.”
It was quite complicated but I persevered and managed to find one more pair.
“Can anybody like this pattern? We have been married for thirty years. I do not know when you will understand me. This is horrible and it is not at all delicate.”
I tried my luck with yet another pair and got “You do not know the difference between delicate and flimsy. This is flimsy, looks like it is made of spaghetti and it won’t last more than two weeks.”
I gave up.
I went round the shop, looked at everything that I would never buy and returned after twenty minutes. She had found a pair. She felt the sole, tugged at the straps, turned it around, examined it minutely, tried it on and asked for a smaller size. Luckily they had a smaller one. She carried the box to the counter to be billed. The fellow manning the counter read the label and was about to type it on his computer when she said “please wait”. She took out the selected pair, looked at them again and asked “Do you have brown in this?”
The fellow must have accepted defeat but before that I was out of the shop and had started the scooter, ready to run. She followed me and sat on the pillion.
“Could you not wait for me? Walking out like that leaving me alone there. You are so impatient. I do not know why I ask you to come with me. Whenever you accompany me I come back empty handed. Now don’t look at me like that. You will sprain your neck. (I had turned my neck trying to look her in the eye) Let us go home.”
And we returned home.