Shopping Mall culture is fast invading our lives , even in small cities and towns. The new locality where we have shifted some seven months back has mercifully no Mall . It may be more convenient to finds goods of daily need and use under one roof and may also save us our ‘valuable’ time which each one of us seems to have run out of these days due to hectic schedule and racy lifestyle, but still I for one miss that personal bond that existed between the dealer/merchant/shopkeeper and the customer in good old days.
I remember my childhood , when as kids, for years we went to a particular barber for a haircut- and why not , as it was he who would come to our home to give us a haircut when we were too young to sit on a high chair in the shop in front of a large mirror and unable to absorb the unfamiliar atmosphere of a shop or a saloon. He won’t mind walking two kilometer one way on foot when a haircut fetched him only 20-25 paise . I still remember his name- Jhania Ram.
Similarly , Kammi (Karam Chand ) was our family tailor , till the time we grew up and became fashion and style conscious to look for ‘better’ choice or alternative .
Like wise, one Bhagwati Prasad was our dhobi for many years and my father would endearingly call him baretha , the meaning of the word unknown to us even today. The grocer and the sabziwala would gladly offer my father a seat inside the small shop where gup-shup would go on for quite some time . I never saw my father haggling over price with any one.
Walking around in a shopping mall with a trolly may satisfy our ego for a while, but the pleasure of shopping for various goods from different shops was immense. The personal bond is certainly missing in these shopping malls, however courteous the attendants may appear to be !