“Maa! There is a clearance sale at Macy’s!” the excited voice of my little one distracted me from the ruing and anger that I was experiencing in the kitchen. I had been out for some days and two garden fresh pumpkins that I had kept on the kitchen slab had rotten. I was angry with my husband KS and still angrier at my little one who had let the pumpkins rot away. How very careless of them both! But suppressing my anger, mumbling a few not-for-your-ears words, I answered her euphoric call. Adding some sweetness to my voice, so as not to let her know how angry I was, I put on a brave mask of a sweet mom!
“Yes Darling, what’s new?” Now when she would be with us for another forty days only, I had to maintain a no-war-situation though it meant suffocating myself to death at times. My little one, who is going to do her MBA from Rotterdam Business School in the Netherlands, has been busy as a bee preparing her to-do-list and clothes are her top-of-the-list at this point in time. Her happiness was clearly audible in her voice when she answered me back, “Macy has some dresses on a clearance sale!” I was happy that she was still looking at the screen of her laptop and didn’t look even for a second at my face otherwise she must have sensed the diametrically opposite expression on my face, the expressions that my sweetened voice tried hard to conceal! “Maasi?” I asked, “which Maasi?” “Oh, don’t you say that you don’t even know Macy’s?” Her look clearly showed her disdain for an ignorant me. But she enlightened me on Macy’s as a famous US Department stores’ chain that had recently started selling goods to customers in India, Online!
“Maa, you know I need daily-wear dresses for the business school and also the formal dresses for many official functions.” And I remembered that she had been enlightening me, since months, about “the little black dress”, “the …, the……” etc. etc. And now I could see reed thin models displaying all those dresses on the screen of her laptop. My Little one would enlarge the selected dress and would closely and critically watch it from all possible angles. While she focussed on the dresses, my eyes would search for the price tag which would be not less than 10k for a simple “Kameez” which she kept on calling “the dress”! I wondered what kind of “sale” is that if even after discount, the dresses easily cross-over 10K price! When she would like some “dress” she showed that to me, her voice like a child who wanted her first ready made dress when all the child had earlier the home made dresses! These sleeveless, above-knee “dresses” made my head swirl, in fact it was the price tag that did the trick. “But of what use are these “dresses” when you say that it could be snowing at Rotterdam and the temperature already is zero there, and can go sub-zero! And then comes the pat reply, “Oh, thanks you reminded me, I need to buy good woollen over-coats and trench coats!” “But why do you have to buy these costly little “kameezs” when you will anyway buy even costlier over-sized over-coats?” And then I added, diplomatically, ” These figure-hugging “kameezs” doing great justice to your hourglass figure would be hidden under the shapeless hags, what you call coats!”. And there I saw a potential “argument” building up, which I had been avoiding all this while, as she reacted, “Do you want me to die of cold Maa?” “Cold? Anshu you already have two BIG suitcases unopened of all the shopping you did in the US and do not forget the luggage allowance!”, comes my reaction, as I fail in holding it inside me. Poor KS, as is the case nearly always, silently sees us both getting ready for another war, and he still is unsure if the rotten pumpkin is the trigger or something we both saw on the internet!
“But” I added cautiously as I knew I was treading on sensitive areas, “don’t you think these “dresses” are little overpriced.” “No, on the contrary the original price is much higher, these are on SALE!” she added emphatically. Now honestly speaking those dresses were nothing more than the “Kameezs” that the Bollywood heroines of the Sixties had worn in all the pictures but our heroines, sensible that they are, always made a point to wear these with Chooridar pajamas, the models in the pictures seemed to have forgotten wearing chooridars with the dresses and had garish stockings and Robinhood-like shoes to go with them. I ruefully thought, these models have no dressing sense and wanted a give them a lesson in how to dress. My little one engrossed in some pictures finally selected a few dresses that she wanted to order online from the Macy’s!
I was shocked to look at the price tags and wanted to steer her clear of her temptation when she was making a very unprofitable purchase! “But these are “kameezs” and I can stitch for you any number of them.” The shocked expression on the face of my little one made me add as a bonus, “Or we can find some good tailor!”
“Are you out of your mind?” she cried, “what has happened to your dressing sense?” I knew I had to convince her now otherwise it would mean a great tear to our hard earned money. I ran to my room and brought my black and white photographs of the early seventies when as a teen-aged girl, I was wearing the similar “dress” but of course with a chooridar! There was something in her eyes that caught my attention. She was wavering between two worlds. I had to teach her the ways of the Business world before the Business school erased all the common-sense that I could fill her with!
And I am waiting for her coming back to the fold and am keeping my fingers crossed till then. I know she would go for Macy’s but I do know one more thing that she understands that dresses are not as costly as they are made to be and she would make all purchases with this truth in mind.
I have given her the first lesson in Business and marketing!