There is something about me that invites my fate to stab me every time I am on to something big. Those aware of my GREat disaster will know the nuances behind my complaints. After that disaster, everything was going on just fine. I had a wonderful final year and particularly a memorable final semester at NITK. All this time, the prospect of me pursuing my higher studies in a good University next year around had always been my driving force. And things got even better when I almost landed myself in a good project after college got over. But unfortunately, my very close companion Mr. Fate found it convenient to metamorphose into some very frustrating formalities which have now dragged over for 2 months and don’t seem to be getting anywhere. And amidst all this, I again find myself being the sole target of the stabs- a situation with which I have now become quite familiar.
But it may not be over for good. For there is still the possibility of these formalities actually sorting themselves out. But I am not getting my hopes up as I know how I react when my expectations are not met. And so having already ditched the job offer that I had earned during my stay at college, I now find myself in a really precarious position, tension and uncertainty looming large over my future plans. It remains to be seen what I can possibly garner out of this present mess that I have got myself into.
And on the other hand, the past one week has been quite eventful in terms of me actually crossing the boundaries of my home. This has largely been a consequence of a certain bag hunting expedition I volunteered myself into. The expedition consisted of the following main objective:
Purchase a Handbag with the following specifications:
1. It should have 2 compartments on the inside apart from the secret compartment that is usually seen.
2. It should be big enough to fit in the following items: a stethoscope, an apron, a lunch box and a horde of other stuff hitherto unknown to the male species.
3. It should be dark colored. Preferably dark shades of brown.
4. It should have a small compartment on the outside, the sole purpose of which is to store a mobile phone.
5. It should not be damaged. (For the definition of ‘damaged’, please read further).
6. And lastly, the budget limit was Rs.1200
The search began at around 1 on a sunny afternoon in the famed complex of Jayanagar 4th Block- widely acclaimed to be the one stop for virtually any form of shopping. It was initially agreed that the search would continue in other parts of Bangalore in case the bag with the above mentioned specifications was not purchased in Jayanagar. And so it began, the Great Bag Hunting Expedition of my holidays. First stop was the bag shop from where I had purchased a gift (a bag of course) to my co-hunter on the latter’s birthday last year round. Unfortunately, but not to my surprise, my co-hunter, who had laid down the above mentioned specifications, was not able to find a bag that satisfied the same. And so we went to the adjacent shop, whose owner had done a tremendous job at displaying the maximum number of bags possible outside his shop with the sole intention of wooing a customer. And when I entered the shop, I had mentally prepared to be leaving that place in the next few minutes and in the exact state as we had entered it. But to my surprise and relief, my co-hunter actually found a bag that satisfied the above specifications. The price quoted too was well within the limit at 750. But it was deemed to be unfairly priced and so I had to enter into the loquacious part of negotiating the same. I was able to successfully lower the price to 650, after which, we paid the price and left the place with the realization dawning on me that I had somehow pulled off the seemingly formidable task of finding a bag satisfying the specifications.
But for the next 1 hour, as we tried to locate a place to eat, I was subjected to, what can now be called, a totally avoidable and invalid bout of criticism over my bargaining skills. It would be over and over repeated that I could have stuck to my initial stand of 600 for the bag instead of raising my valuation to 650, the eventual price at which we bought it. Now why I called the whole criticism as invalid and avoidable was because in about 1 hour, I found myself staring blankly and helplessly at the sight of the bag being returned to the shop after there were certain “damages” found on the inside part of one of the compartments. Here ‘damages’ are understood to include any ‘invisible’ marks which are discovered and claimed significant only by the female species, and where any effort to persuade a revaluation of the magnitude of the damage, or the lack of it, is very spontaneously met with cold stares conveying the lack of the ability to find an undamaged bag on part of the male species.
And so we continued our search for the “undamaged” handbag. Within one hour, we had successfully exhausted all the bag shops in and around the entire complex. The prospect of visiting a new shop with the intention of purchasing a handbag began to take the form a seemingly impossible task- considering the fact that we had already visited about a dozen bag shops in Jayanagar alone and rarely found anything closely resembling the bag that was there in my co-hunter’s head! And so we changed the locality. Just a few kms south was another shoppers’ haven- Gandhi Bazaar. The famed DVG Road with all its numerous shops promised a lot. But here is what happened:
Shop no. 1 was very dark, what with Bangalore getting less power than the entire state of Orissa. And in spite of that, the bag was found! But alas! Albeit the very crucial 2-compartment thing. And after that, our visits to the shops in Gandhi Bazaar very closely followed this algorithm:
Step 1: Set n=2.
Step 2: Go to shop No. n
Step 3: Unsuccessfully search for the bag in Shop No. n.
Step 4: n=n+1
Step 5: Go to Step 2.
At around 7 in the evening, after ‘n’ had reached a value sufficiently large for me to lose count of, we realized that the only thing we had learnt during the entire process of Bag Hunting was that Bags were more expensive in Gandhi Bazaar than in Jayanagar! Further, we also realized that the previous realization was not exactly a worthwhile one and so we decided to call off the Bag Hunt! (Yay!)But, to my dismay, I soon learnt that that was not meant to be the end of the shopping ordeal. The end of the Bag Hunt simply meant no Bag Hunting. Apparently it never meant no Bracelet Hunting or no Ear-Ring Hunting!
And so I trodded on to the nearest shop which was well known to sell the above new items. And so I entered the shop. Immediately I sensed that something was not right. I felt something out of place. Something was definitely out of place. I looked around again and I realized that amidst the sizeable crowd there, I was the only one of the Male species hanging around. I realized I was out of place there! And so I made a hasty rush to the exit, only to be interrupted by my co-hunter (now the only hunter) to judge whether the bracelet with the even number of designs (or whatever you choose to call it) was better or the one with the odd number of designs was better. After weighing my options, I realized that I didn’t have many. So I pretended to judge them and strongly suggested the even numbered one. Immediately after that, I made for the exit. (I would later learn that the bracelet that was bought was neither the even numbered one nor the odd numbered one.) And as I was performing the impatient task of waiting outside, I suddenly became aware of the more masculine feel that was there all around me. I looked at a guy sitting on a parked bike and saw a middle aged man doing the same next to him on his own scooter. And then it hit me! These were not just men sitting on bikes! These were fellow sufferers who were waiting for their better halves to show up from the shop! And after this realization dawned on me, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the tacit understanding that we had!
And so finally at around 7:30 in the night, we left back, each to our own homes, after a highly unsuccessful search for a much needed hand bag. Incidentally, two days later, I get a message saying that my co-hunter had gone in search of the bag at all the other acclaimed places in Bangalore-namely Commercial Street, Malleshwaram, Rajajinagar etc. And came back with nothing more than an increased level of frustration. And so the message told me that the mission to buy a new bag was finally called off, the hunter having been convinced that fate is not going to allow it!
And so that was as far as my week has been….
PS: To all the guys from NITK who will soon be leaving to US for their MS or PhDs, Good Luck and do well wherever you go. I might be applying there next year!