Depression set in early on Saturday night as I started reading Gabriela Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. What if I die an old maid like Amaranta or Remedios the Beauty? What if I end up an old woman as heartless as Colonel Aureliano Buendia? On Sunday morning I again ploughed through the novel. It was tedious even though it did provide a picture of Spanish life, its customs, its supersitions and its fears.
By the time I managed to get over with Marquez, I was exhausted. I slept and slept to feel better. It did help but the fact that I was horribly broke didn't. It spelt going out nowhere. The only hope was a cheque I had deposited to be encashed. I checked it. Zilch. Then I happened to check my other account. And my day was made. There was the lumpsome allowance from office in it which I had expected a day later. So there I was at Sarojini Nagar market which has to be the best flea market, at least in Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta.
Unbelievable cheap stuff lay for the taking. Of course I had to bargain and use my nagging powers. But when I got a flouncy polka dotted skirt for just Rs 35, my eyes nearly popped out. Something that brought a smile to the person who was standing at the stall chatting with the seller. And I shopped and I shopped. Even though it was hot and I really didn't need much. Compulsive shopping I guess. But it didn't hurt the pocket much. Just within Rs 1,000 I had as much as 10 small bags stuffed with lots of pretty skirts and tops.
The first time I had been to Sarojini was with a friend of my dad's. R uncle took us around the city when I came for admission to IIMC. When we went to Sarojini it was already evening and I could not make out much. Except for rows of shops with clothes popping out of every nook and cranny, the owners calling out and R uncle insisting that you could get anything for a steal here. But the actual time I remember falling in love with the market was when we used to go from IIMC in a huge gang. Times when we used to wander there for hours and times when we used to return to the hostel piled up in an autorickshaw that would refuse to go uphill with all us.
And as I walked alone through the alleys there, I felt so at home. Now I can boast that I know it like I know my slab of Lindt's dark chocolate. Once upon a time though I wondered at how you could find your way through the maze there. Funny that it's been four years almost and I am still here.
Back at home trying on the clothes made me feel even better. Finally a round of rearranging the wardrobe to hold everything that I bought and I could feel all the depression of Marquez evaporating like it was never there. The other high point was munching on my favourite Mc Donald's burger and demolishing a mud pie while watching Desperate Housewives.
The start might not have been great but the end was.