I glanced reflectively at Raksha, a petite vibrant woman I had married for her zest and energy.Encased in a costly branded tight figure hugging tee-shirt and equally tight fitting skin- tight pair of jeans which complemented her tight hips and sculpted calves she was the prize of my life. She seemed energized with the purpose today, of vanquishing my bank reserves, but then I knew better than to argue because I didn’t want to enter into an argument which would ruin the day off, a welcome break from a week of graveyard shifts. She was looking at a a shelf of tee-shirts on which a label was stuck with the words, “ Buy one get one free”. She had picked up two tee-shirts which looked suspiciously similar to the ones that she had bought last month. Putting on my best expression and tone I said to her, “Raksha, don’t you have the same pattern on the tee-shirt you bought from the Grand Mall last month?” She replied, “ But then these come with an offer of buy one get one free!’ she replied with a smile, and I knew better than to argue. I turned towards the other customers filing past the aisles, moving in what seemed to be a trance while the announcer spoke of the “red hot offers” on clothes and electronics. “zombies,” I thought in my mind, it seemed as though the others including my flame Raksha had become hypnotized by the offers that poured from the speakers in the Mall so that they returned sure as a clock work every week, every fortnight, every month to grab those, “Once in a lifetime offers!”
The numbers of shopaholics was on the rise, and I was scared that Raksha had become one of them. At the end of the shopping I ended up lugging two huge bags of shopping bulging with clothes, an assortment of toiletries, lingerie and designer jewellery designed to bring out, “The woman in you!” Raksha had the expression of satisfaction and contentment while I, was left wondering about the balance of Bit-Coins left in my kitty. “Raksha, what are we having for dinner”? I asked her with my sweetest tone, and she replied, “ Well we’ll get our dinner packed, you could have your favourite Thai takeover and I’ll have my favourite South Indian.” “Sure,” I replied groaning inwards at the task of stopping at the well known restaurant on the way home. After reaching home, Raksha unpacked her trophies, trying some of them, asking for my opinions about how the clothes suited her. In any case, with her figure and fitness, even the skimpiest garments suited her like a second skin! After the full dress rehearsal was over, baring the trying of the lingerie, we went on to eat our take overs, although I would have liked eating some chapattis and lentils, it had been quite some time since we had had some good home cooked food. After clearing the food packets and washing the dishes, I announced to Raksha that I would like to go off to sleep, since I was feeling exhausted after the day out. I crashed on to my bed with sleep sweeping me off to the land of sleep. After about an our of sound sleep, I was woken by the gleam of Raksha’s laptop. Groaning, I turned towards the screen to see that she had logged on to one of the popular online shopping sites that offered a “Free home delivery on purchases above 2000/- bit-coins. “Come on Raksha, I groaned, its past midnight, cut it out!” She snuggled closer to me and said, “Look, Rajive, there is a twenty per cent discount on the new Rexton all wheel drive, why don’t we trade in our one year old Remura car?” I replied with an edge of rising impatience, “But why, we have only had our car for a year?” She replied, “ But then, the new Rexton has a better mileage and comfort factor!” Wide awake, at the prospect of what I would lose as depreciation, I said, “But no, Honey, we can’t afford a new vehicle, not right now, not with the installments we have to pay for the flat, and the Remura!’ She was good enough to plant a kiss on my lips and shut down her laptop, before turning out the reading light. Raksha had the habit of appearing fresh at any time, I suspected this was because of the large amount of deodorants she had at her disposal. She was one of the high-flying top management executives of a firm which dealt in women cosmetics, and was the envy of some of the top brass in the firm. Raksha was the flame of my life, and our story had been a romantic story of man meets girl, and it was love at first sight. Morning came too fast, and then we went out for our one hour of cycling. I lead the pace which she followed me, her body writhing through the spandex cycling tunic. I smiled to myself thinking about how we had bargained for her sixteen speed carbon fibre cycle while I had remained contented with my steel tubed racing cycle with Shimano gears.
The one hour of strenuous cycling ended with a quick shower for both of us followed by a breakfast of, “Healthy Oats” guaranteed to “lower cholesterol”. A quick round shower and then Raksha switched into a pencil skirt and a shirt while I put on my suit with a tie of roving Tigers that Raksha had bought the previous week. We both had our own vehicles, hers was a Honda Executive, while mine was the Remura. After kissing each other, we drove our own ways. At the office, I called my psychiatrist friend, Rony and told him about Raksha’s obsession with offers in shopping and he told me in a serious voice, “Look Stan, the market forces are using hypnotic messages which are meant to draw customers. The only option for you to break the hypnotic trance is to take Raksha far away from the nearest Shopping Mall!’ I answered, “Where do you suggest I should take her?” He replied, “ Take her to The Caribbean, that is one country where the psychological and hypnotic messages do not affect normal people.” Well I want to tell you that I am taking Raksha to a place where the sun and the ocean will help wean her away from shopping!. Rony has already given me a prescription of drugs which he says will help Raksha break the influence of the hypnotic messages beamed by the Malls. I have told Raksha about the treatment, but then she is happy, excited about the prospect of wearing her new clothes in The Carribean. For the time on the beach she has bought the latest swim wear!