Why is shopping with dad absolutely nightmarish?
Reason three- Because sometimes, there is no stopping him.
It so happened that dad decided to help me buy the suitcases that I'd need. Good enough. This included a comprehensive theory session at home regarding which materials should one rely on, how does the fiber sheets inside the cases help keep it strong, what’s the basic difference between Indian “maal” and the imported stuff, how the suitcase he’d got from Hong Kong was lightweight but sturdy, etc. So for the last 15 days, I have been trying to set an appointment with dad. Yet either work at office or the rains or the uninvited guests or something else would crop up the last moment and delay our visit to the showroom. So on a clear, sunny Sunday afternoon, I almost forcibly took him to the showrooms selling travel gear at New Market.
At the showroom…..
We specified our budget and were shown different stuff by a rather impassive-faced salesman. Soon, I found dad examining the materials just like a quality control officer would do.
Come and see the inside material. It doesn’t seem very sturdy, does it?, he asked me.
Now when you are with a learned man, even the most ignorant of people have to feign some amount of knowledge. How was I supposed to know if the material was sturdy? As if I have been buying suitcases all my life. Yet I nodded my head in compliance with him.
He scanned half a dozen more stuff, asking the salesman every type of question. Kahaan se aata hai yeh? Material imported hai kya? Yeh channel dekhiye andar mein, it doesn’t seem very thick. Yeh material kya fiber ka hai? Kitna discount aata hai is range mein? Chinese cheezein kitni reliable hoti hain?
Frankly after some time, I had lost the conversation. I kept browsing through the prices of the rucksacks and the waist pouches, dreaming about a backpacking trip to Europe, while he kept scanning the hinterlands of the suitcase, unzipping everything, slightly tugging at the materials. I had never known there could be so many unknown things one could look for in something as simple as a suitcase.
Finally after an hour or so, I thought a handful of stuff had caught his interest. I had come all prepared with the money, sure that I was taking 2 large ones and a small cabin luggage home (and that was a lot of money I was carrying). So I started moving expectantly towards dad, wanting to make the final choosing on color (why did I feel that was the only thing I’d have a say about?).
Dad, the red one….
I think we should not restrict our choices to one shop.
We spoke these lines together. At the same time.
Eh?, I stopped after the word “red one”, not understanding for once what did he have in mind. You mean you still wanna look around? I didn’t believe I was hearing it.
Look, these are pretty expensive things. And who knows, we might get a better deal elsewhere.
To my embarrassment, the salesman had already got a hint that we might not be making business here. So he drifted off to the other customers, repeating the rote set of lines he had enthusiastically repeated to us a lifetime ago when we’d entered the shop.
But dad, this is not done. These are all branded stuff. Wherever you go, you’d get the same thing.
Arre yaar, apne baap pe bharosa rakh. I’d get you the best stuff. Whenever my dad uses this “arre yaar”, one must know that he is definitely going to do what he has had his mind set on. And there is definitely no stopping him.
But half the shops are closed on Sunday, I was frantically trying to make him change his mind. The suitcases seemed fine to me. Most importantly, the prospect of suitcase-hunting for a few more hours bothered me.
So what next dad?, I felt defeated. Exhausted. Irritated.
We will go to the wholesaler tomorrow.
Oh come on, these showrooms at prime locations charge a lot of money.
But dad, mom said she won’t let us enter the house if we didn’t buy the suitcases today.
Arrey don’t worry. Tomorrow we’ll go to the wholesaler first thing in the morning. What does your mom know about suitcases anyway?
And your office?
I’ll go to office late.
Frankly, I didn’t look convinced.
What? You don’t trust your dad? I said I’ll go to office late. We are going to the wholesaler first thing in the morning.
So this is shopping with dad. He is taking me to the wholesaler tomorrow. Let’s see what brews there.
At the wholesaler’s place…. Coming up soon.