I’m a shopaholic and not afraid to admit it. Two days in a row without buying something new, and I fell edgy my palms itchy… (ya, I know what they say about a fool and her money). Shopping gives me a ‘runner’s high’, a rush of endorphins, that makes me euphoric but this balloon of euphoria was punctured in seconds, when I went to shop with my teenage son.

We have decided that since the brat was a young man now, after all he had attained the legal age to vote and drive, that I would give him a budget and he could buy whatever he needs for his impending ‘beach-week’ with his buddies after graduating from school. So I asked him whether he would like to go shopping and the usually reluctant boy, sorry man, who revolts at shopping for anything, readily agreed. His usual answers to questions of accompanying me for any kind of shopping is: ‘I dont’ know, I don’t care.Buy whatever’ . But now, I found myself in the car with him driving to the nearest mall. Before going to the mall, I had tried to convince him on the joys of shopping at Sarojini Nagar or Janpath- the cheap bargains he could clinch with his budget, but this modern day, uber school product, stoutly refused. It had to be a ‘brand’ from a mall.

And so we walked into Zara, the hugely popular clothing line with young people (actually even me). Let me tell you a few things about his preferences. Now, although he wants a ‘brand’, there should be no overt signs of it on the clothes: that is, the t-shirt can’t have a logo or anything much written on it, the shorts have to be plain without any extra tags, or stripes stitched on the sides, etc. And he is very fussy about colours. His colour palette ranges from black to grey, white and stretches as far as dark blue.  That’s it. So we go looking at rack after rack. The first rack has tees with flowers, skull prints, birds and other such prints, which were ‘too punk for me’. The next had formal, office type wear, which was easily by passed. Then there were the racks with smart casuals, anything with a collar was too ‘papa-like’, some of them had round-rough edge crew necks which were rejected, other had some shiny buttons on the v-neck, rejected again. Till finally we found a small rack with v-neck tees, without any logos, trimming, buttons.. Wah! just what we were looking for. But the colours were all just wrong: pinks, oranges, neon greens, yellows…. Oh dear what a disaster. Just as I was about to give up, there was a grey, a white and black one. Wow I said , buy it. ‘No, all my friends say I wear too much black, so this time I’m not going to buy black’. That left the white and grey. With a very encouraging nudge I asked him to pick those two. But he decided grey was the only option.

Next we looked at shorts. Again the colours were all bright, the dull one had some trimmings or acid wash on them, and after spending timing going through each rack, he found one that he like. The salesman was sent off to look for his size (he’s reed thin, so even a 28 is loose for him). Finally he had to settle for indigo coloured denims, which was his second choice. The bill togged up to a neat sum for one tee and one pair of shorts. So we left Zara and walked to his other fav store Benetton. While walking, I tired telling him about going to a cheaper place, and the accusations came flying: You can buy a car for yourself but not clothes for me, was one. The next was a killer, When you shop at Zara, no one says anything, I shop and you are after me! Of course, there were worse ones that can’t be made public!

The same routine at Benetton. Tees had loud graphics, which were no-no, others had huge Benetton logos, no way again. Finally one last set had small logos but the colours were a problem: bright green, pink and yellow- rejected straight way, black the fav colour too was rejected, the white had a blue logo on it so rejected, all that was left was a bright blue, and finally bought! A black pair of shorts he liked and i forced a khaki one on him (‘ Khaki may have been fashion in your time, but not mine’, he says). Ouch! That hurt, so does my bank balance!

By now the arguing had reached a peak. The same charges kept getting hurled at me. And new ones kept getting added. “You bought a new car, what happens to my college fund?’ Now where did that come from? Anyways, two more shops, no clothes that suited his preferences…. and by then I am desperate to return home. But he wants to go back to Zara, ‘You didn’t let me check out everything’. Ok! so i’m back, low on patience but gritting my teeth, I act clothes horse, picking up stuff for him. “O now your just randomly picking up stuff, ‘ cause you want to get this over with’. Aaargh!

Finally, he found a pair of pants that he like and it fitted! And two and half hours had gone by! How do I say I was desperate to leave? I didn’t need to find a way! He wanted to go himself. ” I’m tired,’ he said. Magic words for me. ‘Let’s go home,’ I quickly said, holding my breath waiting for his nod of agreement.

Back home, a much needed extra strong kaapi gave me enough caffeine to get over the trauma. Now my wallet is hidden away. I have decided running can give me my ‘runner’s high’ not shopping!