Of Brands and Black Trousers

A few days back, my parents and I had been to Garuda Mall. And for those of you who don’t know what Garuda mall is-well, it is a mall…a big mall…with lots of shops and theatres and …lots of other stuff. Our only purpose of going there was to park our car as we could not find any space on MG Road. Soon after parking, we entered the mall.
It was a real busy sight. People thronging all over the place. But I was still alone-with my parents. I needed a pair of trousers-black trousers. So we went into Shopper’s Stop. Now Shopper’s Stop is this real big place where you get clothes and accessories of various brands. Now I am sort of obsessed with brands. No. It does not mean that I like to wear only branded items or I buy branded clothes. I like them because it simply intrigues me. Just the fact that a shirt is an Armani or a Versace or that a deodorant is a Ferrari. Or for that matter, any of those Dior fabrics, or those Pirelli apparels. Just the fact that one man’s name is so widely accepted that it is a brand in itself is what I find intriguing.
So I enter this place with a black pant in my mind. As soon as I enter, the whole place seemed to be screaming “Versace, Pirelli, Benetton, Giorgio Armani, Prada, Roberto Cavalli…..” And I just stared in awe. It was all in here. All the great Italian fashion designers, British, American, French and even Indian brands were there- all backed by breath-taking photography of models posing with the products.
And there were a lot of brands that I hadn’t yet heard about. Elsa Peretti, Sergio Tacchini, and many others. Now see, I come from a respectable upper middle class family. My parents have provided me with whatever they could provide. I got no complaints on them at all. But I knew that the prices of all branded items were sky-high; why? Just because they are branded items. They are the same brand of clothes that Sharon Stone, Britney Spears, Brad Pitt or Jude Law wears. Well, you can’t expect to wear the same brand that they are wearing at a very cheap price…can you?
And so there I was, standing in front of Giovanni Versace, with all his perfumes, deos, apparels and other accessories. But I dare did not go and ask about the products-simply because I knew I could not afford them. So I went in search of my black pant. I came across many brands I hadn’t heard about. And I found black trousers. I felt the material. It felt good. Quite soft and smooth. The brand: Bottega Venneta. The price: Rs.2499/-
I could not buy it. I moved a few racks ahead. Another pair of black trousers. The brand: Arrows. The price: Rs.2999/-
I moved on. Found out some more black trousers. It was some brand I don’t recall. But I recall the price-Rs. 1999/-
I had come there to buy a pair of black trousers. And I was not able to buy a single piece of clothing there. I was disappointed. I felt helpless. It was not that I was desperate to wear branded clothes and that I was not able to afford it. It was just that I wanted to buy an everyday commodity like a pair of trousers and I was not able to buy one. Forget the place where I was in. Forget the brand. All I wanted was a pair of black trousers and I was not able to afford it.
I felt my hands tied. It was more like a handicap. Yes I could always go to some other normal shop and get a pair of black trousers. But you see that is not the point. The point is –how long? For how long will I be facing the same situation? A situation wherein I am compelled to tell myself: “Look, you can’t afford that. Try somewhere else.”
I have always lived with this I-get-what-I-want kinda attitude. There has never been a question of compromise in my life. And so I can’t accept that I am unable to do something. And so I stood there in front of all the men who hade made big brands out of their own names and I declared that there would soon come a day when I would no longer be in a position wherein I have to compromise. I would get what I want and without any trouble. I would do whatever it takes to get to that position and by God, I will do it soon.
For all you know, 20-30 years down the line, someone will write a blog similar to this. But instead of Giovanni Versace, he would be standing in front of a name- a name famous, simply because it happens to be mine.

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