With a Diwali Mela being organized at every nook and corner that is available in the city, here is a ready reckoner for all things that the delightful Diwali shopper must NOT do:
1. Reach at daybreak: "How much land does a man need?" wrote Tolstoy in 1886. Today perhaps it would have been: How many melas does a woman need to see?
2. Mistake it for a shaadi: I am sure you have a lot of places to go this festive season and wear your fineries. The golds. The Banarasi silks. These melas are a precursor to Diwali, not D-day itself. Unless secretly, for you the lit up fancy gates are making up for the no-show of shaadi invites this season.
3. Tow the men along: A cart, a big shopping bag or even a baby stroller, make up for far more useful things to take along than an uninterested male in the family. Unless your reasons were instead to have a personal bouncer in case someone else got hold of that beautiful blue dupatta before you.
4. Complain about the loud music: Don't be a spoilsport. Festivals are for taking away the peace in your life and putting you into a swirling maze of things to buy, things to paint, things to gift, things to wear, things to eat. The loud music is actually to help dull your brain from protesting or making logical money calculations. Revel in it.
5. Haggle: Didn't you say you loved the melas for all things 'unique', 'exquisite', 'unexplored'? Then why, oh why, haggle like you are a middle-aged pan-chewing aunty in the fish market? Be the class that you wish to find in the world. Or simply appreciate lesser-known artists and designers.
6. Copy: So you walk into a stall, look intently at the display there, check each piece, the stall owner springs off his/her chair ready to answer your queries and points out more details. But ALAS, you are a 'big designer' roaming the mela grounds for 'inspiration'. You just ignore, make notes, and move on. In other words, you are the competition blatantly and shamelessly copying. And no, the American-accented English, posh clothes, and holier-than-thou expressions don't redeem you.
7. Come out empty handed: So you didn't/couldn't haggle to your heart's content at the mela, that certainly does not mean should leave empty handed. Loosen your purse strings and appreciate the crafts. You give joy and receive joy at such genuine instant shopping sprees. Wasn't that the entire idea of a Diwali mela?
8. Find them irrelevant: Now that is one thing that Diwali melas are definitely not. Ditch the traditional shopping malls this year. Go find a cause to support, most of the NGOs participate or have their own melas around this time. Spread joy, love, happiness and brighten another's life. Your life will glow in the reflection.
Hope this made no sense to any of my dear readers. If it does, then shout out on twitter @nazia_e