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I have heard marriage counsellors watch couples interact through their secret cameras. I suggest they should also observe them shopping. Observing couples shop together gives a fair idea how they relate to division of money, desire for things and each other's happiness.
Yesterday my friend and I decided to check out a chic ethnic wear sale. Two hours around noon, a window of opportunity (much after breakfast and yet before lunch time) suits us best. We began from our homes, I reached before the friend and explored the bargains alongside other shoppers.
In this high end store I usually see people check ten labels before they buy one. Wives are found excited, exploring the stuff and husbands grim faced, perhaps regretting their decision to walk inside.
Yesterday the scene was reversed. Women were tense and men excited. It was obvious that the store was running a heavy discount. For once I saw gentlemen with arms full of clothes and happy together.Perhaps these husbands were merry thinking of the prospect of pleasing their wife at a fraction of the usual cost. It however stressed the wives that they could not find the right garments at such a rare opportunity.
I observed a young wife picking twenty kurtas. One by one she held them to her torso. Her husband made faces to show her his opinion. It amused me to see how his expressions changed like the Navrasas, eyebrows creased, arched or shot up to show degrees of approval. His eyes squinted, widened and shut alternatively as though they were a graphic emoji display of his taste. Together they selected a garment each and walked out pleased.
Next entered a bearded middle aged man and surveyed the situation. He sent his wife to check the women's section with their child. I saw him quickly pick a dozen of men's kurtas and walk to a corner. He selected five-six from them and looked around. His wife had few things on her arm. He walked to the billing counter and paid with his credit card and then began to rush the wife. The moment she returned, he walked out of the store and waited in the lobby outside. With a twinkle in his eyes he told her he was going to get the car. It was hard to miss the surprise turning to disappointment on the wife's face. She opened her bag and paid with cash.
I saw another couple where the man was suggesting options and his wife made eye rolls that his taste was poor. There was also a woman in a mismatched wrinkled suit with a torn dupatta. She had cracked heels and unkempt hair. Her husband patiently coached her how to select clothes. I saw many different pairs and believe me I could sense what was going well or wrong in their equation.
When I had left home, my husband was complaining that I ditched him on a holiday for shopping. By the time I returned, he transformed to a teen trying his three kurtas one by one. My little money could make him so happy, isn't that's what money for?