Category: shopping

Birthday shopping and strange choices

Birthday shopping and strange choices


The twins celebrate their birthday this week and we’ve been out shopping. The thing is, generally I pick out clothes for them on my own. And it works fine for us. We rarely shop together. But come June and they want to choose their clothes for the big day.

I like shopping. Or at least I used to think I liked shopping till I started doing it for the children, with the children. Now I just plain dread it. Do read my previous post on my experience in the mall.

If you’ve read the post and are back here you’ll know how I feel. Of course the children have grown since then however one thing remains the same – my firm belief that shopping and kids do not mix.

But something’s just have to be done. Hence, it is with great trepidation that we set out for the shopping trip and with even greater apprehension that I enter that first store. In the girls’ section we look for a place for H to make himself comfortable. We move onto the dresses the and N likes one almost instantly which I think is borderline over the top – a white frothy concoction with shiny lace. I prefer another one in a slightly muted colour, a lovely colour, if I may add. She tries both. Pictures are promptly dispatched to the aunt who is perceived as the more fashionable one. (Seriously!) She okays the daughter’s choice. I give in, glad to have gotten over with it in the very first store. We keep the dress aside and walk to another floor to look for the son’s clothes.

The salesman shows all kinds of fancy shirts – formal ones, informal ones, jackets, hoodies as also trousers, shorts and what not. He looks at them, rejects most, tries a few then says no to the rest of them too. I want a plain tee, he keeps insisting. The salesman pulls out all kinds of plain tees but they are all rejected. No one can fathom what he wants.

Never mind, I console myself at least one is done. Down we go to pick up N’s dress. And she refuses to buy it. Just refuses.
What if I find something l like better in the next store, she argues.
But there will always be better clothes out there somewhere, I reason. if you like this one, take it.
She digs in her heels, No she says, I want to check out more shops.

So we leave the dress and go on.

We spend an hour and half sorting through scores of clothes in scores of shops with an extremely bored H dragging his feet, disappearing in the lanes and by lanes looking for ‘something to eat’. And then when we would finish with one shop we would have to go looking for him before we entered the next one. He didn’t find any food and nor did we find another dress. So back we go to the same store, pick up the same dress (which mercifully was still there) and we are half way through.

We then head to a nearby mall for a quick lunch. H spots a branded sports store and drags me there. He picks out a jersey set.
This is what I want, says he with absolute certainty.

What? A teeshirt and a pair of shorts? That, by the way, cost way more than the daughter’s dress and don’t look half as as glam.

It’s their birthday, I remind myself, even as the son is saying the same thing on a loop. So we buy the jersey and head home after a good four hours. I’m not complaining though, I’ve been let off relatively easily this year.

Wait for their birthday pictures people – while she will be looking like a frothy concoction out of a fairytale, he is prepared to look his own version of Messy on the football field.

Choices I tell you!

Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Five reasons malls are bad for kids

Five reasons malls are bad for kids

Here’s a confession – I like shopping. I well remember the Becky Bloomwoodish feeling when I stepped into a mall after a year of abstinence during my pregnancy (I was on bed rest most of of the time). I’m not a great spender though, thanks to years and years of conditioning – of being taught to think before you spend. But I like browsing, I enjoy window shopping, I love hanging out at coffee shops. However I make sure it’s only on weekends. I cannot stand the crowd.

When the kids were tiny I would put them in their stroller and head out to the mall. I’d park them in the food court and dawdle over my coffee while spooning mashed bananas into their tiny mouths. I liked watching people and they did too staring around eagerly with their button eyes. 

A visit to the mall was quite a treat till..

…they discovered their feet

That was the end of all the peace and quite. Since the day they crawled out of the stroller they never stopped. They kept growing and so did their need to explore. They looked everywhere including loos, trial rooms, lingerie sections and under mannequin skirts. 

Then they discovered ‘want’

.. and after that nothing was enough for them. It was ‘I want’ ‘I want’ ‘I want’ all the way.

9 years later

I dislike malls with a vengeance. They make the twins go a little berserk. I wrote about their mall adventures earlier here. A friend said it was because I didn’t take them often enough, which may be true. However there are other reasons: 

Here’s why I’d rather not take the kids to the mall

Malls are exhausting: 

The unending aisles, the walk-walk-walk, the no-place-to-sit (The coffee shop is a bit of a dream with two restless kids tugging at the leash).  Almost always the twins end up cranky and so do I. The air-conditioning and the crowd might have something to do with it.

They offer too many choices: 

And that’s not a good thing, not for kids. They end up confused and unhappy as they flit from store to store and toy to toy. Either I am waiting endlessly for N who can never decide what she wants or I’m dragging H away because he wants everything.

The kids never have enough: 

No matter how much we shop or how many games they play, there is always that one more thing they want or one last game they need to play.

They encourage mindless consumption:

Even as a rational adult (I hope!) I end up spending more than I intended. I can fully understand how much tougher it would be for the kids. We started off with the one-toy-each-visit rule. However, even that is such a waste. Why should we shop for a toy (even one) if that is not the purpose of our visit to the mall? What’s worse, it will probably be lying forgotten within a few hours of reaching home adding to the ever-growing clutter.

They offer nothing new and the kids learn nothing: 

.. other than mindless consumption. After a point malls are just the same. They do not stimulate the kids’ minds specially since they outgrew looking under trial room doors!

Mercifully the kids dislike shopping so I just find it easier to leave them home. Somedays I we do make a trip together – when they need to be fitted out for something or when we plan a gaming zone-food court trip. But that remains an occasional treat.

Do you like frequenting malls?

Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter M. With grateful thanks to Mrs Nesbitt who had this wonderful idea of bringing together bloggers from across the world through ABC Wednesday and to Roger who keeps it going week after week.

In the toy shop

In the toy shop

What do you do when you are on a holiday and you get a windfall of money?
You go shopping of course.

And so it was that Hrit and Naisha sought me out with 100 bucks each in their pockets given by their dadima for a spot of shopping. Fearing I’d need more patience than I could muster on my own, I called upon my sister to support me in this expedition. The sister, who has recently learnt driving (only to take us out during the vacations, says she) agreed readily. I thought it was a good way for the kids to learn to budget their spending. We went to the toy shop.

First came Hrit.
He checked out a few toys..
and settled for two small cars.

Then came Naisha.
She looked
and looked
and looked.
She didn’t like anything at the first shop. (All she did like was about ten times the money in her bag.)
We went to the next shop. Nothing.
We came back to the first shop. Nothing.
We walked to a third shop. Nothing.
We went to Archies. Nothing.
We went to Universal – a pretty large stationary shop here. Nothing again.
We went back to Archies.
And here she picked out a pink heart shaped gift box and was still not really happy because she had her eye on something much more expensive.

Then as we were getting in the car we spotted a roadside balloon seller with a few other toys. Naisha ran to him and excitedly picked out a trumpet, all of Rs 10. She blew it noisily all the way home, having finally found her happiness. It’s another matter that the trumpet breathed its last by the time we got home. Sigh!

Lessons learnt…
For Naisha
Decision making is tough.
Even if it seems huge while I do my counting, 100 is not really a big sum in the real world.
I am a sucker for roadside shopping.

For Hrit
While shopping, women do not appreciate help or suggestions.
If you tell them to hurry up you’ll get your head bitten off.
You just wait patiently for them to finish.

For me
Happiness isn’t necessarily expensive.
Patience is a virtue I need to work on.

For the sister
I have unlimited patience for my niece.

Endpiece: As it turned out Naisha fell in love with her ‘jewellery box ‘. Aren’t kids complicated? Now she’s on a hunt for ‘things to put in it’. Of course masi has started off her collection. And we’re off on another shopping expedition to look for more stuff. Naisha and I. I never do learn from my mistakes, do I?

A miracle

A miracle

Quick … what comes to mind when I say autodrivers?
Rude, cheeky, rowdy, dishonest.. right?

— They’re the ones who are almost never available when you most need them
— When you do spot one, he won’t go because you’re not going far enough
— They’ll take the longest route possible while convincing you it is the best one
— They’ll declare their meter dead and charge an exorbitant flat rate
— In fact they’ll never go by the meter unless it is fudged

That’s why I call this a miracle. Read on..

We went shopping – the twins and I. Of course that was miracle no 1. Yes the kids are growing up. What with their busy social lives they just do not have the time to go shopping in the evening with their ma — even if it’s for their own stuff. This time round, however, I squashed all protests and refused to do multiple rounds exchanging their clothes. They agreed grudgingly, specially Hrit who hates any time at all that is spent without his best ever chum, Y.

We shopped for shoes and swimwear in a matter of minutes and headed home. Hrit whined all the way about the ‘wasted’ time while Naisha drowsed off amidst complaints of having missed playtime. And so it was that as we arrived I was at my flustered best squinting at the auto meter, hunting around for change, telling Naisha “yes you may go to the playground” and Hrit “Yes you may call over Y”. In all the craziness the shopping packets lying quietly at the back of the auto were quite forgotten.

As I was unlocking the door to my flat my empty hands reminded me of my blunder. I sprinted to the building gate but the auto was long gone. I wish I had the words to explain my frustration then. It was not so much about the money but the HUGE effort that had gone to waste.

I was coming back deflated, cursing the side effects of old age and there I saw Naisha standing with all the bags. What was this? A miracle? Well yes sort of. Apparently the auto driver discovered the bags, came back and having overheard Naisha saying that she was going to the ground he went there, found her and handed over the bags. How’s that for a surprise!

Thank you dear auto-driver. You didn’t simply return me a few clothes and shoes, by your small act you reaffirmed my faith in humanity, reassured me that goodness and honesty are well and truly surviving. You have inspired me to look for the ‘nice guy’ in everyone around me. And that, my friend, is worth a million bucks of shopping. Wish there were more like you.



Some days are just not meant to be. The thing to do on those days is to sit it out at home. My problem is that I never figure it out till it’s too late.

I needed to get summer clothes for the kids and decided to head for the mall on Sunday what with all those tempting sales and offers. The Husband was supposed to do the baby-sitting. He, however, declared he had to go to work. No problem thought I, I’ll take the kids along. Like a super efficient mom I dressed them up a full hour in advance of the time decided upon. We were going with the SIL and my niece. By the time she arrived the kids were deep in the antics of Hanuman and greatly resented giving up the telly. The little one set up the mother of all tantrums. Never mind thought I, she’ll be fine by the time we are through lunch. She howled her way through one full hour of lunch making sure her protest was well and truly registered. However, she recovered after that and we reached the mall in averagely decent shape. Even as I was giving myself a pat on the back God in heaven was having a good laugh at what he had in store for me.

Catch n Cook
As I got on with the task at hand the kids busied themselves playing hide and seek, then catch and cook among the clothes’ rails. I ignored them determinedly vowing not to worry till one of them was in actual danger of being upturned – the rails or/and the kids. (That’s called mommy nirvana).

Spin it on
I HAD to take note however when I found the two of them spinning a rotatable accessory showcase. By the time I reached the scene of action the showcase was spinning at an unbelievable speed and before I could stop it clips, bracelets and hair bands came flying off the stands. The next few minutes were spent in gathering up the merchandise, apologising profusely and telling off the kids.

I spy
In the middle of the chaos… ‘Bathroom’ announced the son and we made a beeline for the washrooms. After the kids were done I went in to do my business. I had barely shut the door when I heard H saying ‘Mama I can see your shoes’. I jumped off and walked out in a hurry to see him sprawled on the floor, yes on the washroom floor, trying to look under the door. We washed, cleaned rushed out.

Try it on
I collected my scattered wits to try to focus on the clothes and in a flash the kids had disappeared. I recovered them from the women’s lingerie section trying out the ‘clothes’. They had picked two pieces off the rails and were placing them on the relevant parts of their anatomies while preening in the mirror. It was kind of weird considering the son shall never qualify to wear those garments and the daughter has many many years to go before she does. I found myself putting back the merchandise, apologising profusely and telling off the kids once more.

I rushed them off to the changing rooms where my SIL had been calling me for eons for a second opinion. As I checked out her buys I heard the son’s distressed call of help while the daughter shouted, “mama look at bhai”. There he was sprawled on the floor yet again with one leg inside the changing room occupied by a young lady. For once he had bitten off more than he could chew. He had put his leg under the door into the changing room to see ‘how far in it could go’. The young lady inside believed in giving as good as she got. So she caught hold of his foot and refused to let go. She walked out after a while, a big grin on her face. I readied for the apologising-telling off routine but, “That was fun,’ she said, ‘I’ve been on the other side when I was their age.” And walked off with a wave. Oh I wanted to high-five her.

Sing along
One would have thought this was enough of a shocker to keep the duo quiet for some time. However within five minutes I found them facing the mirrors outside the changing rooms singing and gyrating in the most amateurish fashion. The songs – for the daughter “My name is Sheela” and the Son went with “My name is Singh is King”.

Oh and I have left out minor irritants like the time they wrestled with the huge soft toys, the time they hung from changing room handles so people inside couldn’t open them, or when they wanted to take off Santa’s cap in the display counter to check if he had hair.

All this in a space of two hours. God keep the patience coming.


1.      This post is an explanation, explanation NOT apology, for my Harridon-like behaviour when I got home and found The Husband at his laptop refusing to help out with the housework.
2.      In their defence I have to add that the kids do not provide so much entertainment always. It is only on some days that they are so much in their element.