Guest Blog: observations of an afternoon shopping

By Connie Curtis

  
This is my first time in India. There were many sights today as we travelled into Bangalore city to a shopping mall.

The drive was very eventful all the the sights on the road on the way there; all the people you can get on a motorbike and ladies riding side saddle in sarees. Drivers don’t keep to the white lines and meander all over the road. The contrast in living accommodation and conditions is marked.

When we arrived at the mall there is a person to give you your carpark ticket from the machine and another person opens the boot and searches it – a security measure. Once in the car park There are a lot of people directing cars into free spaces and blowing whistles to direct and attract attention.

To get into the shopping mall there is an airport style security scanner and a bag check too. A security wand is also waved over your body. After that you are allowed in to wander around but you can’t walk into any old shop without being stopped if you have bags. All bags have to be checked in with security and a token is given for it – you retrieve your bags when exiting the shop. The security guards in shops are also the tiniest security guards seen. They almost all welcome you with “namaste” or “namascara”. When buying items sales assistants insist on taking an Indian mobile number before any purchase can be made. Whilst there are loads of people to assist the service is slow and no one works quickly. When leaving a store you have to show your receipt – some shops stamp, some hole punch and other just look at it.

Every lift has a lift attendant who sits in a lift all day pushing buttons for the floors. Everyone pushes and barges out in lifts – nobody lets people out first – people are trying to get in before anyone can get out.

There is no sense of personal space – everyone stands so close behind you that you can feel them. You are however aware of people looking and staring at you. (We did not see any other white people in the mall.)

Inside the shopping mall there are so many people employed to clean but walk a outside and it’s a rubbish dump. It’s difficult to comprehend that they don’t want to keep area around the mall (or other shops in general) clean and tidy. Even the steps going up to shops are dirty and/or broken.

There was one huge benefit to shopping in Bangalore though. When in a shop looking at tunics a lady just approached me and gave me a compliment. She said I was  “an exceptional stunning and beautiful woman”. It’s not a compliment someone in the UK would give to a complete stranger!

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