New clothes are always such a joy to wear. How I love the crispness and smell when they are fresh out of the store. And I am sure it is not just me. Practically every single soul gets that streak of joy on a day when new clothing is worn!
On a recent trip to the mall, I was unable to resist some of the attractive deals flaunted by apparel stores to lure potential buyers. I ended up returning home with heavy bags and a lighter pocket. As I stuffed the newly acquired pieces of apparel into my wardrobe, I glanced at the pile of other clothes. Some used a time or two, some hardly worn. And here I was adding more to the collection. I promised myself I would not buy any more apparel, until I was done wearing most of them… Hmmm I do hope I keep up the promise I made to myself.
But pondering over this, I realized how things have changed for us Indians over the years. With the opening of the country’s economy and the mother of all revolutions, the internet revolution, there is a paradigm shift in our spending patterns. Shopping has now moved from being a means to cater to our necessity, to a leisure activity. And this is true for not only the urban upper middle class or the middle class, but also among the lower income group.
This was really not the way it used to be way back in the eighties. New clothes used to be restricted to festivals and very important occasions such as a wedding in the family. As a child I distinctly remember waiting for Diwali (the festival of lights). It used to be the one festival where the entire family would shop for new clothes. In fact, it used to be the only time in the year, probably we used to shop and make use of those glorious sales put up by stores. Way back then, there were just three destinations in Bangalore to do the best of festive shopping- MG road, Brigade Road or Commercial Street. There weren’t any malls and residential colonies seldom had apparel stores (unlike now where most residential areas have become pseudo-commercial hubs).
Dad would plan this extravagant shopping session a week or two before Diwali. And the entire family would shop till we drop….cause the next occasion to do so would turn up only after a year. At the beginning of every New Year, when the calendar used to arrive at home, my first job would be to circle Diwali.
I still look forward to this festival. I still mark the calendar. I still buy new clothes for the family on this day. But what has significantly changed is the fact that I also buy clothes at random occasions all through the year.
And the result of all this, an overflowing wardrobe, and diminishing excitement that lies in the ritual of shopping before Diwali!!