We venture out to sit and watch the world walk past. Some converse animatedly. Others walk in trance with perhaps a couple of tons on their shoulder, metaphored by a laptop bag ! Yet others walk in blissful love. Many others walk with children playing pranks and pulling hair.
We sit there and watch the walk. Well aware that when we walk, some others would too. But i insist on sitting there. The bright lights from the store, the brand new bench, and the beautiful people are all worth it.
Right opposite are three clothes stores for children. ‘Pumpkin Patch’, says the one thats right opposite. It has some interesting mannequins. I rejig my memory on which village fair i had spotted similar design. The interesting design catches my eye and i am keen on examining them for sometime.
In quick time, i spot a kid that emerges from beneath the mannequins. She still is talking to the mannequins when i see her first. My eyes twitch like an antler’s ears, at the sound of a rustle. I see two adults at the background.
Parents of the little one. I assume. Oblivious to me or anybody else watching ,they are busy shopping for the little one. Pink frock. Blue Jeans. Shoes. Overalls. They try everything.
Carrying the child to the ‘trial’ room every time they want to try something new ! It must have been some trial. For the kid wasn’t exactly happy with the interruption of ‘play’ with the mannequins.
Later, my wife tells me, that Pumpkin Patch is an international brand for children ! ‘European,’ she says. ‘A pair of jeans for a 3-4 year old can retail at Rs.2000 a piece’. I jump out of my chair ! Two thousand !! Somehow, something doesn’t seem ok. I am unable to put my finger on my exact discomfiture.
Children being introduced to branding & brand preferences at an age when mannequins are looked at as playmates, doesn’t ring the right bell. Perhaps Naomi Klein’s ‘No Logo’ that i am reading now, has come to influence me heavily !
The next door is another children’s store. Its glass window has an announcement : ‘Introductory offer : One for one free’.
“Mamma, look, there is an offer here. Its one for one free. Lets buy the red Romper mamma ! Please…! ” A kid whose introduction to the world cannot be more than a few years implores. His mother takes him in.
We walk away. I walk in silence. ‘Whats on your mind ?’ The wife asks.
My mind races with questions. Have parents paused to take stock of all that they offer to their ‘introductions’ ? I am not so sure.
I decide to keep that discussion for a later date.
‘Whats a Romper?’ i ask. That was on offer, you see !